Suboxone is a medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid dependence. Using this drug long-term can lead to several adverse effects, including Suboxone dependence and addiction.
Continue reading to learn more about the long-term effects of Suboxone and how an addiction treatment center can help people safely stop using this drug.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. It is available in a tablet and film that dissolve under the tongue or between the gum and cheek.
Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist that can reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that can block the effects of opioids. In Suboxone, the ratio of buprenorphine to naloxone is 4:1, according to a study published in The Ochsner Journal. In Suboxone, naloxone does not affect buprenorphine. Naloxone can only block the effects of buprenorphine when it is snorted or injected.
In addition to suppressing opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings, Suboxone is shown to reduce the potential for misuse and increase safety in cases of overdose, reports SAMHSA. However, like other opioids, Suboxone can be habit forming and can lead to adverse effects, including dependence and addiction when used long-term.
Why Would Someone Use Suboxone Long-Term?
Opioids are highly addictive substances associated with a high risk of overdose. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2019, opioids were involved in approximately 49,860 overdose deaths, which represents more than 70% of all overdose deaths that occurred that year. Suboxone is often used long-term by people in recovery from opioid dependence because it can help them stay sober and avoid an overdose.
Many addiction treatment centers aim to help patients discontinue Suboxone after they have learned essential skills to stay sober and successfully manage triggers like stress and anxiety.
Suboxone discontinuation is also known as Suboxone detox and usually involves tapering patients off this drug gradually. However, some doctors decide to keep patients on Suboxone indefinitely, especially if they do not receive behavioral therapy at a drug rehab center that teaches them how to stay sober.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Suboxone Use?
Given that Suboxone is an opioid, many of its long-term effects are the same as those produced by other opioids, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. Below are some of the many common long-term effects of Suboxone use.
Opioids interact with various receptors in the brain and body to slow down several bodily processes, including digestion. This can cause food and waste to travel through the body at a far slower pace, thereby increasing the risk of constipation. Over time, constipation can lead to complications, including swollen veins and tears in the anus and rectal prolapse (when part of an intestine protrudes from the anus).
Long-term opioid use can lead to recurrent depression that is also resistant to treatment, according to a study published in The Clinical Journal of Pain. Opioids slow nerve activity in the brain to increase the risk of mood disorders, including depression. Treatment-resistant depression increases the risk of serious complications, including obesity, chronic illness, and suicide. A separate study published in The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders states that up to 38% of patients who use opioids long-term will suffer from clinical depression.
Increased Sensitivity to Pain
Prescription opioids typically reduce pain, but people who use opioids for too long will eventually begin experiencing increased sensitivity to pain. This condition is known as hyperalgesia. People who suffer from hyperalgesia may develop pain in new areas without a specific diagnosis, or existing pain may spread to affect a broader area.
Certain sensations that were not painful before, such as stroking the skin, may suddenly become more painful. In addition, hyperalgesia caused by long-term opioid use can often be effectively treated by discontinuing the opioid.
Long-term opioid use can affect the endocrine system in both males and females to cause a wide range of hormone-related problems and imbalances. Insulin resistance, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, osteoporosis, and infertility are some of the many hormone-related effects associated with the long-term use of Suboxone.
Dependence and Addiction
All drug products that contain buprenorphine, including Suboxone, are classified as Schedule III drugs under the DEA. Schedule III drugs have a moderate to low potential for physical dependence and psychological addiction.
Those who use Suboxone for an extended period will experience withdrawal symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle pain when discontinuing this drug abruptly. They may also become psychologically addicted to Suboxone, leading to serious problems including job loss, financial strain, and legal issues that affect their quality of life.
Long-term use of any opioid, including Suboxone, increases the risk for a drug overdose. Those who become physically dependent on Suboxone have high tolerance levels for this drug and use it in increasingly higher amounts over time. Those who cannot achieve the pleasurable effects of Suboxone after using higher amounts may switch to more potent opioids like heroin and fentanyl, which can instantly trigger an overdose.
Seeking professional treatment for Suboxone dependence and addiction at a drug rehab center can often prevent an overdose and give people the support they need to achieve long-lasting recovery.
How Can Suboxone Dependence and Addiction Be Treated?
Suboxone dependence and addiction can be effectively treated in full at a drug rehab center that offers medical detox and behavioral therapy. Drug rehab centers are operated by a team of medical professionals who understand the stigmas related to addiction and are trained to help people from all walks of life recover from drugs and alcohol.
Medical detox for Suboxone helps patients overcome physical dependence on this drug. Doctors place each patient on a tapering schedule, which involves gradually reducing their daily Suboxone dosage until they are no longer dependent on the medication. Tapering helps minimize symptoms as much as possible to help patients feel more comfortable as they go through withdrawal. This process can take up to several weeks, depending on how the patient responds to treatment.
Suboxone addiction is typically treated using a variety of behavioral therapies in a drug rehab program. The goal of therapy is to help patients identify personal triggers, and cope with and change harmful, addiction-related behaviors. Patients also learn healthy stress management skills that don’t involve the use of drugs and alcohol. Some rehab centers offer special services, such as employee assistance programs, family therapy, and others, that can benefit patients who need help improving their lives outside of rehab.
Recovering From Suboxone Misuse In Indiana
Contact Indiana Center For Recovery at (844) 650-0064 to learn more about its Suboxone detox program and many available drug rehab programs. People who live in Indiana and surrounding areas can experience a safe and comfortable recovery from Suboxone dependence and addiction at this highly esteemed and accredited treatment center.
Let’s get you or a loved one help with a few simple steps.