Suboxone/Zubsolv® (Buprenorphine) is a prescription medication that is used to treat opioid addiction.
Approved by the FDA in 2002, Suboxone became the first drug to treat opioid addiction in an office setting and represents the latest advance in medication-assisted treatment.
Suboxone can be dispensed by prescription (in pill or film form) for home use. Suboxone treatment is becoming the preferred method for treating opioid addiction because of its pharmacological and safety profile.
Suboxone is different from other opioids. As a partial “opioid agonist,” it does not produce a “high,” has low risk of causing physical dependence, a lower potential for misuse, and has a ceiling effect which prevents overdose. It also has a milder withdrawal profile. What is most significant is that Suboxone treatment eliminates cravings and thus helps patients abstain from substance abuse.
Suboxone is one part of a complete treatment program that also includes counseling and behavioral health services.
“Anti-craving medications are not a silver bullet; relapse is common even among people who take them, and some in fact do better with an abstinence approach. But there is substantial evidence that Buprenorphine and a similar drug, Methadone – which has faced ideological resistance on and off for decades – reduce the mortality rate among people addicted to opioids by half or more; they are also more successful at keeping people in treatment than abstinence-based approaches.”
New York Times, 12/29/18; “The Treatment Gap”
How Suboxone Treatment Works
Suboxone treatment works by lessening patients’ cravings for opioids, thus facilitating abstinence and lasting, long-term recovery. Suboxone treatment can help patients stop using heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids.
Physicians at Victory Recover Partners (VRP) usually advise patients to take Suboxone once a day, each day, and in accordance with dosage levels that are custom-tailored for each individual patient, based on their unique medical needs.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with Suboxone has become the most widely heralded ’standard of care’ for opioid addiction treatment, recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization, and the American Society for Addiction Medicine, among many other leading health organizations.
Suboxone treatment is generally a long-term undertaking. Physicians at Victory frequently taper many patients down to progressively lower dosages of Suboxone. Over time, some patients are able to eventually cease using Suboxone completely, while others may continue taking the medication indefinitely. Physicians at Victory tailor each patient’s outpatient addiction treatment plan to fit their specific individual needs for the purpose of helping them achieve lasting recovery.
Victory accepts patients who are currently undergoing Suboxone treatment with other medical providers. Additionally, patients who have undergone Suboxone treatment in the past but are not presently using it, and patients who are altogether new to Suboxone treatment are also accepted.
Typical Appointments for Suboxone Treatment
Induction – Initially, patients undergo an induction phase which is targeted to last one week (but can also last from two-to-three weeks). In order to enter the Victory program, patients must be undergoing withdrawal, as Suboxone treatment cannot be commenced on patients who are “high” on opioid drugs.
Ongoing appointments – Following successful induction into Suboxone treatment, patients visit Victory once every two weeks and then eventually once a month for ongoing Suboxone treatment. These ongoing Suboxone treatment visits include discussions with Victory physicians about the patient’s progress in abstaining from drug use, adherence to the prescribed protocols for Suboxone treatment, and urine toxicology tests, as needed. Ongoing appointments customarily take about 30 minutes.
Typical Dosage for Suboxone Treatment
Once patients have been inducted into the Victory program and successfully complied with their treatment plan, they are typically prescribed a one-month supply of suboxone.
Daily dosage levels may range from 2mg to 20mg of Suboxone, depending on Victory physicians’ assessment of each patient’s unique needs. Our physicians may also elect to taper (i.e., reduce) dosage levels over time as patients progress within Victory’s Suboxone treatment program, and based on each patient’s specific medical needs.
Frequency of Appointments for Suboxone Treatment
Initially, during the one-week induction phase, patients visit Victory Recovery Partners on Long Island for a detailed assessment consisting of a physical exam and a psycho-social evaluation. During induction, Victory’s physicians also work with each patient to determine the daily dosage of Suboxone that is appropriate for them. Following induction, patients are shifted to bi-weekly appointments and then, eventually, recurring monthly appointments for Suboxone treatment.