Suboxone is a prescription medication that is used to control opioid withdrawal symptoms. If you are struggling with Opioid Use Disorder, a licensed physician can prescribe the medication to help you regain control over your life.
Suboxone is an FDA-approved medication designed to help people with Opioid Use Disorder manage opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
The medication contains a partial agonist called buprenorphine, which binds to the same receptors as other opioids in order to decrease withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone is unique because it also contains the partial opioid antagonist naloxone. Naloxone has the ability to block the effects of stronger opioids, minimizing the risk of abuse.
How to Get Suboxone: Legal Means of Getting Suboxone
If you currently struggle with opioid dependence and a doctor thinks it’s appropriate for you, you may be prescribed Suboxone.
Buying Suboxone without a prescription is illegal and can be dangerous. Black market sellers cannot guarantee what is in the medication or the dosage, resulting in potentially dangerous side effects.
It is also important to note that the medication is not appropriate for people who are not opioid dependent.
Getting a prescription
Suboxone is designed to help people with Opioid Use Disorder. A licensed physician who has a license to prescribe the medication can prescribe Suboxone if they think it is appropriate.
Consultation with a licensed physician
Certain doctors are able to prescribe Suboxone once they have received the necessary training. These physicians can be referred to as “waivered” or “certified” practitioners.
The first step to getting Suboxone is making an appointment with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registered physician. They will ask you questions about your opioid use to see if Suboxone is right for you.
Requirements for a prescription
In order to receive a prescription for Suboxone, you must meet these 3 requirements:
- Suffer from Opioid Use Disorder
- Be over 16 years old (although there can be expeditions)
- Have access to safe living conditions and social support to help in your recovery.
Specialty clinics and programs
Some clinics specialize in the management of opioid dependence and can use Suboxone as part of medication-assisted treatment to treat patients.
These clinics and programs have access to doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists in order to help people.
Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs)
Opioid treatment programs often use medication to help treat opioid addiction and withdrawal.
These programs can be initiated in a number of settings, including intensive outpatient programs and in-hospital locations.
Certified doctors with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registered
Before 2023, doctors needed a DATA 2000 waiver in order to prescribe Suboxone.
However, physicians now need to be Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registered and to have undergone the necessary training in order to prescribe the medication.
Telemedicine and virtual consultations
Tele-health or virtual consultations offer a low-barrier way to receive treatment and be prescribed Suboxone.
You can meet with physicians online or over the phone and discuss your opioid use.
Factors to Consider Before Getting Suboxone
Medical history and current health
It is important to discuss your medical history and current health needs with physicians.
Certain health conditions such as severe allergic reactions may influence whether you are able to receive Suboxone treatment.
Severity of opioid addiction
The severity of opioid dependence will have an influence on your treatment.
For example, the severity of addiction will impact withdrawal symptoms and doses of Suboxone prescribed. For severe addictions, up to 16 mg of daily Suboxone can be prescribed.
Treatment goals and preferences
It is also important to consider what your goals are with medication-assisted treatment and to discuss these with healthcare providers. You may want to become completely sober or have a certain time frame in mind.
Availability of medical supervision
It is important to take Suboxone medication under medical supervision.Make sure your physician is available to meet with you at least once a month, in order to make sure the treatment is optimal for you.
Accessibility of treatment facilities
If you are prescribed Suboxone, you will need to frequently meet with a healthcare provider to check for potentially serious side effects and the effectiveness of treatment. It can be useful to find a clinic that is close to where you live.
Cost and insurance coverage
Medicaid or Grants such as the SAMHSA grant can help provide financial support for people who do not have private insurance.
Duration of treatment program
Treatment programs last many months, with sobriety being a lifelong commitment. It can be useful to ask your doctor how frequently they want to meet with you (and for how long) to plan your recovery.
Potential for drug interactions
Like any medication, there is potential for drug interactions. These include:
- Certain antibiotics and antivirals
- Antidepressants called serotonergic drugs.
Support system and counseling options
Counseling is a great addition to an opioid treatment plan and is recommended by many physicians.
Additionally, a doctor will not prescribe Suboxone unless they know you have sufficient social support. It can be useful to find support groups to help achieve the best outcomes for your recovery.
Honesty with healthcare providers
It is important to be open and honest with healthcare providers when receiving Suboxone treatment.
Honestly will ensure that:
- Dosages are correct
- Prescriptions are legal and ethical
- Side effects are minimized
- Medication interactions are minimized
- Withdrawal symptoms are properly managed and minimized
- Highest chance of recovery.
Adhering to doses and schedules
Doses are carefully prescribed in order to help manage withdrawal symptoms and opioid cravings.
Suboxone is carefully created with an opioid antagonist, meaning that you will not experience any euphoric effects even if you take multiple doses.
Tapering and Discontinuation
If you are taking Suboxone and are hoping to eventually get off all medications, it is important to do so with medical supervision.
Although Suboxone can help manage withdrawals, if the medication is discontinued abruptly, people can experience withdrawal symptoms. A doctor will help you reduce your dose to minimize these effects.
Suboxone is a great tool to use under medical supervision if you are suffering from Opioid Use Disorder.
Like any medication, Suboxone use has potential side effects. A licensed physician can help you balance this with the benefits of taking the medication.
It is important to be honest and open with your healthcare provider about your health, as well as any unusual or severe side effects.