Suboxone and Buprenorphine – Does it Work?

Suboxone treatment / Buprenorphine Detox

SUBOXONE TREATMENTThe drug Suboxone is a synthetic opioid that’s active ingredient is Buprenorphine and naloxone and can be an effective drug used for the detoxification of opiate addiction. However, Suboxone is a synthetic analgesic opioid, which is very addictive, and can be more or as addictive as the drug or opiates addicts are trying to be freed from. The most beneficial and safest method for using Suboxone, is to get in a detox and rehabilitation program, or hospital inpatient detox center or doctor that offers 1 to 2 weeks of Suboxone. Then transferring immediately into a comprehensive inpatient treatment center to rehabilitate the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of the drug addiction in a safe program away from the tempting environments. The drug does not provide these benefits;  it’s only designed to address the physical part (detoxification) of a complex opiate addiction by alleviating withdrawal symptoms, but when not taken correctly can further complicate even the physical aspect of the addiction.


Moreover, Suboxone works well at getting a person who is physically addicted to opioids or opiates through the physical withdrawal process without experiencing the harsh effects. This is ideally accomplished within one week, because when continuously taken beyond that point you are in danger of causing an addiction to the Suboxone itself. Like heroin and Oxycontin is a horrible addiction. nevertheless, although one week of low to moderate doses of Suboxone shouldn’t cause a physical dependence.  It is important to taper or wean down, especially toward the second half of the week and/or any time you discontinue taking opioids, because there are always unfavorable consequences when abruptly dropping off of higher amounts of opiates or opioids.

A sudden drop off of the drug can cause the nullification of a somewhat pain-free detox attempt if not done properly or abused and end up trading one physical addiction for another by becoming addicted to Suboxone/buprenorphine. Opiate addicts are very sensitive in this area, and if they are still going through withdrawals, they will more than likely search for more drugs to relieve the anguish opiate withdrawal causes. For this reason it is beneficial to go straight into drug rehab. Also because there are always post withdrawals associated the detoxification process to one degree or another, such as mild to moderate anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and insomnia which often causes relapse within the first month of recovery.

There are clinics and doctors licensed to prescribe Suboxone maintenance as an alternative to the short-term detoxification and inpatient rehab combo approach. Maintenance provides Suboxone/buprenorphine to their patients over extended periods of time and then they are eventually weaned off slowly over time, “hopefully”. But with this method you essentially become addicted to Suboxone and are weaned off the drug as the doctor recommends. Often we get calls from people that say that some Suboxone clinics or doctors do more encouraging to stay on the drug than to quit, even after the addict has request to be weaned down. Also patients may find themselves hooked to the drug and are no longer able to pay the doctor or clinics for the drug and are discontinued with a buprenorphine habit. The main point here should be that it’s an opioid or opiate that gets people into this trap to begin with and so trading one drug for another often proves futile, especially when mistreated. So as good as it sounds, switching from one drug to another, chances are, won’t solve the main problem and can prolong the inevitable.


Nevertheless some people want the mid or long-term wean down maintenance approach and that’s fine we can help people locate those resources too, but that is not what we would recommend to somebody who wants to be free from being a slave to opiate addiction sooner than later. Because opiate dependency like other addictions are typically physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual battles that require intensive recovery on all levels. And inpatient drug addiction treatment has a much higher success rate than outpatient rehabs when it comes to heroin, Oxycontion, Roxicodone, Dilaudid, Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab, Fentanyl and many other opioid and opiate pain killers.


is a semi synthetic analgesic/opiate that is derived from thebaine (chemically related to morphine and codeine) and is administered in hydrochloride form intravenously or intramuscularly (by entering a muscle) to address moderate to severe pain and also sublingually (taken under the tongue).


is a drug used to reverse the effects of opiate overdose, also known as Narcan, Nalone, and Narcanti it was eventually added to buprenorphine (making up Suboxone) to discourage patients from braking-down and injecting the tablets. Consequently, whenever naloxone is injected it may send an opiate-dependent individual straight into withdrawals. Moreover, Buprenorphine alone has agonist and antagonist properties, thus, blocks the effects of other opiates and causes withdrawal to those who are actively using and physically dependent on other opiates. Therefore, users must also wait until the onset of withdrawal before being given buprenorphine treatment.


itself has partial agonist and antagonist actions and is the primary active substance in Suboxone, its opiate or agonist properties significantly relives harsh symptoms of withdrawal and its antagonist properties helps reduce the threat of people abusing other opiates while taking buprenorphine.

An agonist

is a chemical substance (as an opiate) able to attach to receptors and mimic the similar actions produced endogenously by natural opiates or chemicals within the body.

An antagonist

is a substance that acts within the human body to diminish physiological activity of another chemical such as an opiate.

Unlike other opioids such as heroin, Oxycontin, Roxicodone, Percocets, Vicodin (Hydrocodone) and also Methadone, Buprenorphine has its maximum effect at 32mg. So, 40mg of buprenorphine would not be more effective than a dose of 32mg. Making it a safer alternative to other narcotics as listed above.

Suboxone or Subutex

(subutex is buprenorphine without the naloxone) is typically given as a method of short-term detoxification or as a long term maintenance program. Suboxone and subutex have notable success as a detoxification agent and a street opiate deterrent as a maintenance program. However, buprenorphine itself is an opiate drug and may hinder a person’s quality of life considerably. So, the quicker a patient can reap its benefits and be done with it they will be far better off. It should be noted, that, the “majority” of opiate-addicts will need to receive intensive drug rehabilitation in order to be sober of drugs; Suboxone or subutex are only one option as part of a lengthy process of drug addiction treatment.

The overall opinions of people who have taken Suboxone/buprenorphine for opiate dependence seem to be that it is a helpful drug and therefore an option to long time struggling opiate addicts. Also, for many addicted to opiates, Suboxone can be an easier detoxification alternative than its more potentially-addictive counterpart methadone.

To get put on Suboxone or subutex one must locate a drug detox center or doctor who is licensed to prescribe it. Or else find a drug rehab and or detoxification program that specializes in using the drug. At this time, unfortunately, buprenorphine is not a cheap drug and many addicts find very difficult if not impossible to pay for; even though the drug is covered under some health insurance plans.

Article and information obtained from:


Corey A. - September 26, 2012.

Just a replacement drug

Erika C. - March 21, 2014.

It saves many lives and it has saved mine. I followed the program CORRECTLY and weaned off CORRECTLY, yes if used under a physician's care and you want the help and work it the RIGHT way for which it is intended, then yes, absolutely it works. I am living proof. No longer on any replacement therapy, nothing. Clean from alcohol and opiates after 15 years of using. However like any other medication if one does not use it for its intended purpose then of course they will receive no benefit and say it doesn't work. The person STILL has to want it.

Karyn - March 21, 2014.

I watched my son get treated with suboxone so I have some very strong feelings about this DRUG. It is a copout. We went to a doctor because he was a Suboxone specialist and assured us of success. BS! The suboxone is harder to withdraw from than the oxycodone. And the idea that it masks the high is false. Stay away from this garbage. Rehabilitation requires the commitment to go drug free, not drug replace. If you want off drugs get off drugs, don't replace them with another. It's all about the medical care bills. This doctor would see you once and then turn your over to his counseling staff to meet once a week. It is a racket.

Sheila - March 21, 2014.

I don't believe in treating a substance abuse addict with another substance! If it is successful all it is is a bandaid! They need to do the self work and work a program! I do believe in an inpatient medical detox that is administered by professionals but I do not believe in going to a Dr and trying to do yourself ! Much too dangerous!

Micycle - March 21, 2014.

Everyone has such strong opinions on Suboxone. I find it funny that some people bash it after only having one experience which involved one of their loved ones. People shouldn't judge the drug in a negative way after having only limited experiences with it. The fact of the matter is that Suboxone works wonders for some people and not so great for others. If your in a 12 step program the goal is to be chemically free of all mind and mood altering drugs. I agree with that, yet I am one of those people on Suboxone. And I do attend meetings despite peoples harsh opinions on weather I am clean or not. Ive been on suboxone for the past year and a half and it has saved my life. Suboxone has allowed me to slowly regain my life. Suboxone alone didnt work for me. Suboxone with a combination of meetings, hanging out with friends in recovery, playing music, working out, and helping out the new guy is what works for me.There is no single path to recovery. Do what works for you. If what your doing isn't working then try something different. The people that give me shit about being on suboxone I really dont allow to bother me anymore. My quality of life has improved ten fold. Today I have a roof over my head, I am employable, I no longer have to do the things that came with active addiction. Suboxone is just one tool of many that has allowed me to regain my life. I wish people out there were more open minded about the suboxone debate. There are so many negative opinions out there regarding Suboxone. I hear people bash it that have very little experience with it. The fact is that Suboxone is saving lives and allowing people to live happy healthier lives. There are people out there that give Suboxone a bad name. Some people on it aren't really trying to change and have different motives. But you can't judge a drug and its benefits to individuals and society based on the few knuckleheads who have no desire to change. Honesty, Openminddeness, Compassion, and the idea of "principles before personalities" should be applied to Suboxone. Do what works for you. If people are giving you grief then screw them. Those are the people with the issues that have absolutely nothing to do with you.

mario rivieccio - March 22, 2014.

your wrong yes its to get off opioids but when they started looking in to it it is a pain killer and i need a pain killer but vicodine was killing my liver and i like them to muct i dont get high on subboxin it just kills the pain and it has no side effects

rOBYN - March 22, 2014.

Been on subs for 7+ years and now I have went back to pain pills to get off of Subs. Pain pills were never my problem as I don't like them much....heroin was my problem. I never knew how bad it would be to get off of Subs but its worse than HEROIN WITHDRAWAL! I AM SUICIDAL, HAVE TO TAKE A FAILING GRADE FOR A GRADUATE COURSE I'M TAKING, AND DON'T HAVE THE MONEY FOR THE ONLY TREATMENT THAT I KNOW WILL HELP ME - Novus Detox in Tampa, FL which is over 10 grand. They have Amino Acid IV's - there is another option locally but its still extremely expensive. I will have to stay on pain pills until either one day my insurance will decide to cover me for this treatment that actually works but that the government won't approve even though it would get so many people clean for good!

tear jerker - May 9, 2014.

Ive been on subs for 3 yrs now to help me get off pain killers n other drugs and now im finding it very difficult to get off don't get me wrong it helped me n many more get off there addictions but now im even more addicted to the suboxone than any of my other anyone else going through this as well ???

Dorothy - May 31, 2014.

Suboxone works for me. I thank God , for this medication!! It works!

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