Suboxone Treatment at Connect

Suboxone is a prescription medication used in treating those addicted to Opioids, illegal or prescription. It contains the ingredients Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Together, these drugs work to prevent withdrawal symptoms associated with an Opioid addiction.

How Can Suboxone Help?

Suboxone has become the preferred treatment medication for Opioid addiction. It is now used more than Methadone, which can be habit-forming.

Unlike other Opioid replacement medications that require a prescription from a specialized treatment center, Suboxone can be prescribed by us. Many people use Suboxone at the start of treatment, as well as in continuing treatment and recovery. We will help you come up with a personalized treatment plan.

Our Approach - Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies for the treatment of substance use disorders. A combination of medication and behavioral therapies is effective in the treatment of substance use disorders and can help some people to sustain recovery.

Buprenorphine/naloxone is a medication that works in the brain to treat opioid use disorder. Opioids include heroin and prescription pain relievers such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl.

how MAT can help with addiction - connect chcw

5 Myths About Using Suboxone to Treat Opiate Addiction 

The vast majority of physicians, addiction experts, and advocates agree: Suboxone saves lives. The U.S. Government has recently been lightening up on the requirements needed for doctors and nurses to “get waivered” in an urgent attempt to increase the availability of Suboxone prescribers, as the number of opioid deaths keeps rising.

Unfortunately, within the addiction community and among the public at large, certain myths about Suboxone persist, and these myths add a further barrier to treatment for people suffering from opiate addiction. Thank you to the Harvard journal in creating this.

Myth #1: You aren’t really in recovery if you’re on Suboxone.

Reality: As addiction is increasingly viewed as a medical condition. Suboxone is viewed as a medication for a chronic condition, similar to a person with type 1 diabetes needing to take insulin. To say that you aren’t really in recovery if you are on Suboxone is stigmatizing to people who take Suboxone, and it’s not the medical reality of effective addiction treatment.

Myth #2: People frequently misuse Suboxone.

Reality: Suboxone, like any opiate, and many other medications, can be misused. However, because it is only a “partial” agonist of the main opiate receptor, it causes much less euphoria than the other opiates such as heroin and oxycodone. In many cases, people may use Suboxone to help themselves manage their withdrawal, or even to get themselves off heroin or fentanyl.

Myth #3: It’s as easy to overdose on Suboxone

Reality: It is extremely difficult to overdose on Suboxone alone. It is much more difficult to overdose on Suboxone compared to other opiates, because Suboxone is only a partial opiate receptor agonist, so there is a built-in “ceiling” effect. When people do overdose on Suboxone, it is almost always because they are mixing it with sedatives such as benzodiazepines, medicines that also slow breathing.

Myth #4: Suboxone isn’t treatment for addiction if you aren’t getting therapy along with it.

Reality: Ideally, addiction treatment should include MOUD as well as therapy, recovery coaching, support groups, housing assistance, and employment support. But that doesn’t mean that one component, in the absence of all of the others, doesn’t constitute valid treatment for addiction. Currently, only about 10-20% of people with opioid use disorder are getting anything that qualifies as adequate treatment for their disease, due to flaws in our healthcare system and shortages in qualified providers. So, while combination treatment is an admirable goal, it is unrealistic to expect that everyone with an addiction will receive all the aspects of treatment that they need, especially if you add in that many people who suffer from addiction often also lack access to regular healthcare and health insurance.

Myth #5: Suboxone should only be taken for a short period of time.

Reality: Expert practitioners have different theories on how long Suboxone treatment should last for, but there is no evidence to support the claim that Suboxone should be taken for a short period of time as opposed to being maintained on it for the long term, just as a person would manage their diabetes with insulin for the long term. Ultimately, this comes down to patient preference.

Eliminating myths and misinformation about addiction, and supplanting them with up-to-date, evidence-based treatments, is a critical step in the evolution and improvement of addiction treatment.

Benefits of Suboxone Use in MAT

Buprenorphine is among the list essential medicines maintained by the World Health Organization, and is an indispensable tool for helping people with opioid use disorder to ease moderate to severe opioid withdrawal and cravings.

Some additional benefits of using Suboxone in MAT include:

  • Increased overdose safety.
  • Decreased risk of misuse.
  • Long-acting effects may allow for alternate-day dosing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Suboxone Help Addiction Treatment?

Suboxone can be used during different stages of treatment and offers a long-term solution for managing an Opioid addiction. When included as part of a comprehensive recovery plan, the medication eliminates Opioid cravings altogether.

Since Suboxone is a depressant, it slows you down rather than speeding you up like a Stimulant. Those who take the medication may experience:

  • Pain relief
  • Calmness and overall well-being
  • Perceived fewer worries and reduced stress levels
  • Relaxation

Follow-up appointments is important in ensuring a successful recovery while on Suboxone.

What Should I Discuss With My Health Care Provider Before Taking Buprenorphine/Naloxone?
  • Symptoms of your condition that bother you the most
  • If you have allergies to any medications
  • If you have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself
  • Medications you have taken in the past for your condition, whether they were effective or caused any adverse effects
  • If you experience side effects from your medications. Some side effects may pass with time, but others may require changes in the medication.
  • Any other psychiatric or medical problems you have, including a history of liver disease
  • All other medications you are currently taking (including over the counter products, herbal and nutritional supplements) and any medication allergies you have
  • Other non-medication treatments you are receiving, such as talk therapy or counseling. Your provider can explain how these different treatments work with the medication.
  • If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding
  • If you use illegal drugs or narcotics
How Should I Take Buprenorphine/Naloxone?
Buprenorphine/naloxone is available as a tablet or film that dissolves in the mouth. On the first day of buprenorphine/naloxone treatment, a starting dose up to 8mg/2mg is usually recommended. This starting dose should be carefully adjusted under the supervision of a certified health care provider to find the most safe and effective dose for you.

Buprenorphine/naloxone tablets should be dissolved under the tongue. Do not swallow. Keep the tablets in place under the tongue until completely dissolved. Do not eat or drink anything until the tablets are completed dissolved. If more than one tablet is needed to reach the prescribed dose, place all tablets in different places under the tongue at the same time. If this is not possible, see the detailed instructions on the medication guide that came with your prescription or ask your health care provider.

When you first begin using buprenorphine/naloxone film, it should be dissolved under the tongue. Place one film under the tongue until it is completely dissolved. Do not move the film after placement. You can place the film under the tongue on either the left or right side close to the base of the tongue. If a second film is needed, the second should be placed on the opposite side. If a third film is required, place it on either side after the first two films have dissolved. After a few days, you can decide to dissolve buprenorphine/naloxone films under the tongue or on the inside of the cheek.

What Should I Avoid While Taking Buprenorphine/Naloxone?
Avoid drinking alcohol, using sedatives, or other opioid pain medications (such as codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, or morphine), or using illegal drugs while you are taking buprenorphine/naloxone. They may increase adverse effects (e.g., sedation, overdose, death) of the medication.

Keep in mind that some cough syrups may contain opioid pain medication. Discuss all medications with your doctor and pharmacist prior to taking buprenorphine/naloxone.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Buprenorphine/Naloxone?

Common side effects

  • Headache, nausea, vomiting, increased sweating, constipation, trouble sleeping (insomnia), pain, and swelling in the arms and legs (peripheral edema)
  • Signs and symptoms of withdrawal from opioids (such as shaking, stomach cramps, diarrhea, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, body aches, or runny nose)
  • Numbness of the mouth, redness of the mouth, and burning or painful tongue may occur with the buprenorphine/naloxone film

Rare/serious side effects

  • Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when standing)
  • Changes in liver function or liver failure
  • Changes in adrenal gland function
  • Sleep-related breathing disorders
  • Allergic reactions
    • Avoid with known hypersensitivity (rashes, hives, itching) to buprenorphine, naloxone or any of the ingredients with them
  • ​Overdose and death
    • Signs of overdose include pinpoint pupils, sedation, low blood pressure, and respiratory depression (slowed breathing)
    • This risk is higher when buprenorphine/naloxone is used IV or at the same time as sedatives (like benzodiazepines) or other depressants (like alcohol)

We Understand What You’re Going Through

We connect and help many people every month who are suffering from addiction. We will listen to your story and give you an opportunity to be heard, and find the best plan to help you recover.

Meet Our Connect Providers

Yakima

Kari Hoover - Physician Assistant

Kari Hoover, PA-C

Physician Assistant

I aspire to continuously improve my knowledge and skills in order to provide the best possible quality of care to my patients.

michael murray headshot

Michael Murray, PsyD, LMFT

Behavioral Health

My philosophy of care is that the integration model just makes sense. Whole-person treatment is the only logical way to support a healthy life style. I enjoy the collaborative nature of the work and my coworkers are simply awesome.

Michael Schaffrinna - CHCW Leadership

Michael Schaffrinna, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Ellensburg

Gillian Zuckerman - Family Medicine

Gillian Zuckerman, MD

Family Medicine

I aspire to find, foster, and propagate the humanity of medicine. I am excited to be returning to an FQHC, where I can be of service to my new community. In particular, I am thrilled to become part of Connect Clinic.

michael murray headshot

Michael Murray, PsyD, LMFT

Behavioral Health

My philosophy of care is that the integration model just makes sense. Whole-person treatment is the only logical way to support a healthy life style. I enjoy the collaborative nature of the work and my coworkers are simply awesome.

AMY CLAUSSEN HEADSHOT

Amy Claussen, PA-C

Physician Assistant

Everybody has a story that impacts their life and medical history. I believe in taking the time to listen to that story, as it has meaning and influence on the care plan and goals that patients and I will work toward together.