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Opiate Addiction

SuboxoneSuboxone is prescribed at WellStep Atlanta to help patients detox from addictive pain medications such as hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco), oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet) , and methadone. Suboxone is also extremely effective in treating heroin dependence.

Patients are almost always pleasantly surprised at how quickly and effectively Suboxone works to block cravings from withdrawal of Oxycontin, Percocets and Lortabs were taken.

Suboxone treatment allows patients to continue working, going to school and leading normal lives. Patients can often be started on Suboxone the very first visit if appropriate.

Patients are given prescriptions for Suboxone at shorter intervals in the first weeks of treatment. We provide referrals to counselors or outpatient programs depending on the patient's needs.

As the patient progresses in treatment at WellStep Atlanta, a long-term treatment plan is developed taking into account patient preferences. Some people will chose to remain on a maintenance dose of Suboxone after the initial treatment period and begin the discontinuation process later. However, other patients will begin tapering off the Suboxone quickly so that the medication is used as a detox aid only.

After Suboxone treatment, naltrexone (in pill or injection form) is often used to prevent relapse.

Introduction to Suboxone Treatment - For Patients

At your initial visit at WellStep Atlanta, we may recommend Suboxone (buprenorphine) to help you to comfortably and safely detox from addictive pain pills and/or heroin.

Suboxone contains the chemicals buprenorphine and naloxone in one pill. Buprenorphine is partial opioid agonist. In other words, it has some properties similar to full opioid drugs like hydrocodone and morphine. But it also has some chemical differences that make it less addictive and much less likely to cause you to feel like you are "drugged up". This is the main reason we use Suboxone instead of methadone at WellStep Atlanta- methadone is a full opioid and produces all the unpleasant side effects of strong narcotics. In addition, it is often quite difficult for patients to get off of methadone once it is started.

The other chemical in Suboxone is naloxone. This chemical is not absorbed when you take the film or sublingual film or pill as directed under the tongue. It is added by the manufacturer to discourage drug abusers from crushing up the Suboxone and injecting it intravenously.

You should be in mild to moderate withdrawal which means you can't have taken heroin or a short acting pain pill like Lortab or Percocet for at least 6-12 hours. Oxycontin and methadone should be discontinued 24 hours or longer before Suboxone is taken. If you are not in some degree of withdrawal with symptoms such as aches and pains, runny nose and drug cravings, Suboxone can actually make you feel worse instead of better.

We instruct you to let the pill dissolve under the tongue. Suboxone usually takes about 10 minutes or so to fully dissolve and then starts to work very quickly, usually within the first 15 or 20 minutes. Patients describe a warm or satiated feeling and typically don't feel "drugged up" at all. Sometimes we give a second dose in our office and patients almost always feel much better by the time they leave the office. If you tolerate the Suboxone well, and almost all patients do, we provide a prescription for Suboxone to take home until the next recheck.

Suboxone can be used for a week or 10 days on a detox basis or it can be continued for months and even longer as a maintenance medication. When you take Suboxone longer than a couple of weeks, it is likely that you will become temporarily dependent on the Suboxone. As a result you may prefer to do a quick detox to eliminate that possibility. At WellStep Atlanta, most patients find they do better if they stay on the Suboxone at least a couple of months or longer. When you that you want to discontinue Suboxone treatment we provide a slow tapering schedule (over a few weeks) to help prevent your experiencing withdrawal symptoms from abrupt discontinuation.