Is There an Alternative to Suboxone?

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The disease of addiction is infamous for the way it affects virtually every aspect of one’s life. Although it’s probably the health and physical Suboxone Film for Opiate Addictioneffects one thinks of first, there are many profound and negative effects of addiction beyond those that are physical. When an individual becomes addicted to alcohol or drugs, he or she initiates a complete transformation.

In addition to severely weakening one’s immune system and potentially damaging a number of bodily systems, there are a number of personality effects that result from addiction as well, including dishonesty and deceit, desperation, emotional volatility, aggression, depression, and so on. These changes affect not only the addict but virtually everyone with whom he or she has a close relationship.

With so many different effects, addiction treatment and recovery can be somewhat complicated. After finally choosing to seek treatment, an addict must find the right programming for his or her particular needs. This includes finding a facility in an optimal location that offers the most appropriate programs and treatments that address one’s individual symptoms.

As such, there are many different approaches to the treatment of addiction with some programs or treatments even incorporating the use of medication as a useful tool for overcoming alcohol abuse or drug addiction. The most common and well-known medication for treating addiction is Suboxone, which is the trade name for a substance that contains buprenorphine and naloxone.

Although it’s a favorite, many treatment providers and physicians, there are a few alternatives available as well, which differ not only in how they work but also how they’re used as part of an addiction treatment regimen. Therefore, the following will define and describe Suboxone, including how it’s used in addiction treatments, before describing some of the alternatives and how they are used in the treatment of addiction.

What Exactly is Suboxone?

Although it’s been occasionally used to treat chronic pain, Suboxone is most familiar as a medication that’s used to treat opioid addiction. Containing a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone most often comes within a sublingual strip form or in tablet form, but there’s also a transdermal form as well. Buprenorphine is the primary and most beneficial ingredient in Suboxone as it’s the substance that prevents opioid addicts from experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they are no longer using heroin or opiates.

Unique among prescribed drugs, buprenorphine is described as “sticky,” which refers to its ability to bind to the brain’s opioid receptors, even kicking other opioids out of the way to take their place; having become bound to the receptors, the buprenorphine “sticks” to the receptors for a long period of time during which other opioids are rendered ineffective. In short, the buprenorphine binds with the opioid receptors in the brain in order to block other substances from binding with them. As such, there are a number of addiction treatment programs that will offer patients Suboxone as part of treatment, especially during detoxification if individuals are experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.

Additionally, buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means that while it is readily able to bind to opioid receptors, it doesn’t activate them to such an extent that it would produce a sense of euphoria. The effect is that it renders all of an individual’s available opioid receptors occupied by a pseudo-opiate that doesn’t produce much of a sense of euphoria, which is why Suboxone is so highly favored for the treatment of opioid addiction.

The naloxone in Suboxone similarly binds to opioid receptors, but as an opioid antagonist it doesn’t activate the receptors at all. Naloxone is added to Suboxone in order to make it tamper-resistant as individuals who introduce naloxone directly into the bloodstream — which can occur if an individual were to try to abuse Suboxone intravenously — will be thrown into immediate opioid withdrawal by the naloxone. This is why naloxone has become such an important drug for treating cases of opioid withdrawal.

Methadone & Methadone Maintenance

medication-for-opiate-addictionUntil the development of Suboxone, the most readily available alternative was methadone. Used in a similar manner as Suboxone, methadone has traditionally been given to individuals who suffer from opioid addiction, allowing them to cease their opioid abuse without experiencing severe withdrawals.

It’s not uncommon for methadone to be prescribed to individuals who suffer from chronic pain, especially when they have already tried other, more common opiate medications. When used to treat opioid addiction, methadone works on certain areas of the brain and spinal cord in order to block the effect of opioids to a certain extent, although methadone’s ability to function as an opioid blocker is considered much less effective than that of Suboxone.

Many consider methadone to be more a form of harm reduction rather than useful in recovery, but methadone has proven to be especially effective at reducing cravings for heroin and opiates, making it a favorite medication for use in replacement therapy such as methadone maintenance programs.

In these programs, opioid addicts attend a treatment facility each day to dose with methadone under the supervision of physicians and nurses; as a companion to the methadone treatment, these programs also offer counseling and group sessions to help individuals overcome the psychological aspects of addiction.

Zubsolv & New Drugs

While methadone and Suboxone are very common and widely used in a number of treatment programs today, pharmaceutical developers are always looking for more effective medications that will treat or alleviate the effects of addiction. Zubsolv is one such medication that’s newer than methadone and Suboxone and has been officially approved for use in opioid addiction treatments by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Consisting of buprenorphine and naloxone like Suboxone, Zubsolv was intended to be taken once daily and comes in tablet form. However, the primary difference between Suboxone and Zubsolv is that the latter has improved bioavailability. This means that the body of an individual who takes Zubsolv is able to absorb and process more of the active ingredients than he or she would be able to process from Suboxone, making Zubsolv more effective at smaller doses. Other new medications with improved bioavailability include Bunavail

Find Relief from Addiction with the Palm Beach Institute

There are many different therapies, medications, and treatments currently available to help individuals overcome alcoholism and drug addiction. It’s important to remember that there’s not currently a medication available that will completely alleviate all the effects of addiction, including withdrawal and cravings, while ensuring long-lasting sobriety. Even with the aid of medications, individuals must receive counseling and a variety of other treatments in order to sustain sobriety and enjoy a long-term recovery.

If you or someone you love would like to learn more about the available treatments, the Palm Beach Institute is here to help. Call us today at 855-534-3574 or contact us online for a free consultation or assessment with one of our experienced recovery specialists. Your new life of health and happiness is just one phone call away.



Staff Writer

The Palm Beach Institute employs a diverse staff of writers that share a common passion for helping those who are struggling with substance abuse find the care they need. With years of experience in the substance abuse treatment industry and decades of experience in writing and research, our team of writers constantly strive to present accurate and helpful information that is easily digestible and encourages people to seek help.

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  • I had no idea that there were pills like Suboxone that can help people that are trying to quit addictions that they have. Like you said, that block the opioid receptors so that people don’t have intense withdrawals when they stop doing the drugs that they were addicted to. This seems like a huge benefit because a lot of people continue to do drugs because of how hard it is to get past the withdrawals that drugs cause.

    1. Ya too bad that they get hooked on the suboxone too! Take it Get off one drug just to get hooked on another. Its not an outlet, its another addiction!!

      1. Except Suboxone doesnt get you HIGH, you dont have to go on the street corners and shady suppliers to get your FIX of whatever opiate you need, and it blocks using other OPIATES. So its not just hooked on another drug, its more like taking a prescribed medication similar to anti depressants for people that suffer from depression rather then hooked on illegal drugs. Big difference.

        1. Actually you have no idea what you’re talking about! It is absolutely just another crutch that you get addicted to . Suboxone has a much longer Half-Life and stays in your system longer. Withdrawals from Suboxone are worse then pills or heroine! You are better off just buckling down, and detox off a short-acting opiate!

      2. it’s the same addiction.. You are still using an opiod they just market it as not able to get high.. Which is a lie. I am high on suboxone right now

        1. In most incidences, there is no “high” feeling or sensation. I have been on Suboxone for 7 years d/t chronic pain. In those 7 years, I have never had to increase the dose due to “plateauing” (building a resistance) as had occurred with all other opiate based meds. In addition – I, a healthcare professional for 40 years – do not consider my use as an addition. Why? Because it is a means to an end. Without this medication, my condition would be 75 -100% worse and I would not be able to function at all. For people who do not live in pain, it’s very easy to be judgemental. I would be more than happy to put these “experts” at my level of pain. Don’t ask how, just realize when the reality of no relief to being able to “function” on a daily basis is staring you in the face, addition is the last word on my mind. I’m sure this will set off a firestorm, but as previously stated – let me put you where I reside, and then we will readdress your “opinion”. If you can’t walk in another’s shoes, one has no right to judge, period.

    2. My partner was taking 20 hydrocodone 10s a day. He went to rehab and has been on a 4mg strip of suboxone twice a day and it has been a god send. It manages his back pain so he is not tempted to go buy vicodin or oxycodone on the street. alot of people really dont give this drug credit. Its been almost a year and they are trying to take him off of it at the psychiatrist. I want him to stay on it because I dont want to go back to what life was like before suboxone. I hear people bashing this drug and it infuriates me. Maybe some people can ween off of it and not use. Almost everyone he was in rehab with has relapsed or died so I do not listen when people say its just another opiate because its not. Dependence is not the same as addicted. Its the same as insulin. You use it to stay alive. I am praying he is somehow able to stay on it.

  • I live in the Midwest so wouldn’t be able to come to your center. Was over prescribed after my last very difficult rectal/baginal surgery I was in for treatment 3 weeks later barely walking but my dr has left to go back to the er and I am on the tapering process down to splitting 4mg/1mg 3 times a day and was about to go down more. Do you happened to know anyone that can help. My stomach is the issue. I don’t have cravings for the drugs it’s my nerve issues in my stomach after so long in addition to my ptsd from severe trauma. I would never relapse I have four kids that are only with me and are everything but I do need help to find someone to help finish the taper.

    1. I was on 16mg of suboxone strip per day. Doctors would not decrease my dose. So I dropped down as low as I could go within a couple weeks. I think I got down to 8mg and jumped cold turkey. I began to take kratom 3-4 times a day in high doses 1-3 tablespoons per dose on empty stomach. Put oj in my mouth then dumped in kratom powder then swallowed, the kratom took away 90-98% of my withdrawal. Saved my life and no I didn’t get addicted to kratom. Kratom is legal in ohio so very easy to find but cheaper online. I took kratom for 3 months, taking as much as I needed then slowly started taking less and less often. Look up kratom.

  • the only good thing about suboxone is jobs do not test for it, there are drug test that test it, but jobs usually just test for methadone

  • Suboxone does not get me high, but is such a relief from withdrawals. The withdrawals are bad from suboxone but I’ve been taking methadone for 8 years previous to my suboxone treatment and the methadone withdrawals were by far way worse.

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