Is Suboxone Effective for Short-Term Opiate Withdrawal?  - Withdrawal

Is Suboxone Effective for Short-Term Opiate Withdrawal? 

Suboxone was initially used to treat heroin addiction. It quickly became an alternative to methadone but doesn’t have the same tracking as methadone does.



With an estimated 12 million people abusing prescription pain relievers in 2010, the need for effective opioid addiction treatment has never been greater. Although Suboxone has often been used as a treatment for short-term opiate withdrawal, some have questioned how effective it is and whether the risks outweigh the benefits.

Suboxone and Withdrawal Relief

Suboxone is an orange film that contains both buprenorphine and naloxone. Two studies conducted by the National Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network (CTN) found that 77 percent of the patients given buprenorphine successfully completed a 13-day taper program and gave negative urine samples. It appears that the use of Suboxone and buprenorphine is far more effective in an inpatient setting; though only 29 percent of outpatient participants completed the same taper program and gave negative urine samples.


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Concern Over Medication-Based Treatments

Suboxone was approved back in 2002 and was initially used to treat heroin addiction. It quickly became an alternative to methadone but doesn’t have the same government agency tracking as methadone currently does.

As a result, doctors lack information to determine the drug’s safety. Additionally, Suboxone has its own addiction potential, leaving many politicians steering clear of supporting medication-based drug treatments.

“One effect of this controversy within the treatment community has been to stigmatize medication-assisted therapy, making it unavailable for those who might benefit from it,” noted a report by the Governor’s Council on Alcohol And Drug Abuse.

“Substance abuse treatment… must be based on state-of-the-art science. It appears, however, that in many instances, the decision to forgo [medication-assisted treatment] is based on what is essentially a philosophical predilection that is maintained by some without regard to clinical studies that reveal recent advances in addictions medicine.”

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