Is Suboxone Addictive?

Is Suboxone addictive? Before you begin to take any prescription medication, it is important to be certain you understand both its benefits and potential drawbacks. For Suboxone, this includes knowing what is in the medication, what side effects it can cause, and if you can become addicted to it.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the brand name of a prescription medication that is often used to help people who have become addicted to heroin, painkillers, morphine, and other opioids. The main active ingredients in Suboxone are buprenorphine and naloxone:

  • Buprenorphine: This is an opioid receptor partial agonist. This means that it binds to receptors in the central nervous system without causing the intense disorienting high that heroin, oxycodone, morphine, and other opioids can cause. Taking buprenorphine allows a person to end their opioid abuse without the onset of cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.
  • Naloxone: This is a medication that can rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It can offset the slight disorientation that buprenorphine may cause, while also preventing a person from getting high if they choose to abuse other opioids.

Suboxone was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002 for use in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs for opioid addiction. The drug may be administered as a pill, through a dissolvable film that is placed under the tongue, or by injection.

Is Suboxone Addictive?

Since Suboxone is used by people who are attempting to end their compulsive opioid abuse, it makes sense that they would want to know if they are at risk of replacing one form of chemical dependency with another. In other words, is Suboxone addictive?

Since buprenorphine can cause slight opioid-like effects, some people abuse this drug for recreational purposes. Misusing buprenorphine in this manner can cause a person to become addicted. The risk of buprenorphine addiction is much less than heroin, morphine, or other full opioids, but it can occur.

One of the reasons why Suboxone also contains naloxone is to prevent people from abusing it, either alone or in combination with other addictive substances. If a person takes a large enough amount of Suboxone to get high, the naloxone will trigger withdrawal. This is similar to how Narcan, which contains naloxone, can reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

So, having established that, let’s circle back to the main question for this post. Is Suboxone addictive? Technically, yes, a person can become addicted to Suboxone. In practice, cases of Suboxone addiction are relatively rare, and they typically involve people who intentionally abused the medication, not those who took it as directed as part of a reputable opioid addiction treatment program.

Is Suboxone Safe?

Suboxone and its two main ingredients (buprenorphine and naloxone) have been closely studied for decades. These ongoing research efforts have established that when it is used as directed, under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider, Suboxone is both safe and effective.

The safety of Suboxone applies to both short- and long-term use. Some people who have been struggling with opioid addiction choose to use Suboxone for a relatively brief period, then taper off the medication. Others continue to use Suboxone for years. 

There isn’t only one correct way to use Suboxone. What’s most important is that you use it safely, that you don’t abuse it or other medications, and that you don’t alter your dosage level without first discussing any changes with the doctor who prescribed it.

What Are the Side Effects of Suboxone?

As noted earlier in this post, the answer to the question, “Is Suboxone addictive?” is that the risk of becoming dependent on this medication is relatively low. However, that doesn’t mean that Suboxone can be taken without fear of negative outcomes.

Suboxone use can be accompanied by certain unpleasant side effects, including:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches and stomach aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing

If you experience these or any other side effects when taking Suboxone, talk to your doctor about what you have been feeling. The side effects could subside on their own, but if they don’t, your doctor may want to adjust your dosage or try a different medication.

How Is Suboxone Used in Treatment?

Suboxone is most effective when combined with therapy and related support services. Being able to stop abusing opioids without having withdrawal symptoms is a significant benefit – but achieving recovery involves more than merely preventing withdrawal. 

Taking Suboxone can give you the strength and clarity that you need to fully engage in the therapeutic component of opioid addiction treatment. Depending on how your life has been impacted by your struggles with addiction, therapy can help you in the following ways:

  • Learning to identify your triggers, which are circumstances that could push you back into active substance abuse
  • Developing healthy ways to respond to triggers without resorting to substance abuse
  • Establishing a personal support network of close friends and trusted family members
  • Beginning to repair relationships that were damaged by your substance abuse
  • Managing stress, coping with setbacks, and communicating more effectively
  • Sharing support with others who are working to remain drug-free
  • Connecting with community-based resources that can support your continued progress

Find Suboxone Treatment in Worcester

If you have become addicted to Suboxone, other prescription medications, or opioids, Lake Avenue Recovery is here for you. Our addiction treatment center in Worcester, Massachusetts, offers personalized outpatient care within a safe and highly supportive environment. Our team can assess the full scope of your needs and provide the customized services that will promote long-term success. 

When you’re ready to put your substance abuse in the rear-view mirror, the Lake Avenue Recovery team is ready to help. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call our center today.