Suboxone Treatment and Opioid Recovery
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a prescription medication that combines buprenorphine and naloxone. It’s used to treat opioid addiction. (Heroin and narcotic painkillers are common opioid drugs.)
Buprenorphine belongs to a class of drugs called opioid partial agonists, which help relieve symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Naloxone is in a class of drugs called opioid antagonists, which reverse the effects of narcotics.
This combination drug is used as part of a treatment program that typically includes counseling, lifestyle changes, and other interventions.
Suboxone as an Addiction Medication
Suboxone allows one to regain a normal state of mind – free from withdrawal, cravings and the drug-induced instabilities of addiction. Addiction Medication Treatment for opioid addiction and dependence is used like other medication to treat chronic physical illnesses such as heart disease, asthma or diabetes. Taking medication for opioid addiction is not the same as substituting one addictive drug for another.
These medications produces less of an effect than a full opioid when it attaches to an opioid receptor in the brain. Individuals who are addicted to opioids do not get the euphoric effect or feel high when they take the medications properly and under the care of physicians.
Starting Suboxone Treatment – Initial Dosing
When starting out on a Suboxone treatment regiment you will have to go through an induction process that requires you abstain from all opioids . You will be prescribed Benzodiazepine and Clonidine to lessen the effects of your withdrawal symptoms. The first dose of Buprenorphine will be administered by the clinician or doctor. Your withdrawal symptoms will start resolving within 10 to 20 minutes, and you will feel almost normal at about an hour.
You will receive a prescription for your doctors prescribed allotment of medication with instructions to taper your doses as tolerated. You will take the lowest dose in order to prevent withdrawal effects, and make an effort to progressively taper the dose to get off Suboxone.
Your doses and progress will be monitored. Our plan is to work with your tolerance and to reach a final tapering off period within 3 to 6 months of initial evaluation.
How long does Suboxone treatment last?
This all depends on the patient in treatment. The amount you take is within your control. You can take as little as you need. Our goal is to prevent significant withdrawal so patients can continue with their daily lives without uncomfortable symptoms.
We have seen well motivated patients end their treatments in as little as three months, but most have taken much longer. The longer you have had the opiate problem, the higher the amount used, the longer you would need Suboxone treatments.
Their have some patients who are unable to come off completely. They are on a low dose of 4mg/day or less.
Suboxone Prescription Coverage by Insurance
This varies and is very unpredictable. There are a few prescription plans that cover your Suboxone costs without any additional paperwork. Others will require pre-authorization. There are also other stipulations that may be in place, which this is based on the insurance company. If Suboxone treatment IS covered then only a certain brand may be covered. There is also limitation on how much per month, on duration, and exactly how long the treatment will be covered.
If pre-authorization is required then you will have to obtain the form(s) from your insurance and provide the completed forms to your doctor on your initial visit. You will also need to provide these completed forms to your insurance company and you will be able receive your prescriptions only after it is authorized. You will not be able to start insurance covered treatment until our clinic is notified by the company.
There are pharmacies that will allow you to pay for an receive partial prescriptions. You purchase just a few tablets or films at a time. Some pharmacies may require that you get it dispensed within five times, … some may charge you more for partial dispensing.
Medication Assistance Programs
Manufacturers offer a medication assistance program to low income individuals. This can be a tedious process by where you have supply information about many different factors; provide your income statement, tax return etc. Doctors who participate in such programs are nearly always full, and it will be very difficult to find an empty slot. This makes this options very hard on doctors, so many do not participate in these programs because of cumbersome paperwork.