Suboxone, a medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone, is an extended-release medication used in the treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD).
The primary role of Suboxone in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is to treat the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce a patient’s dependence on opioids.
Medication-assisted treatment is an addiction treatment method that uses a combination of medication and behavioral therapies, such as AA groups and individual counseling.
Many hospitals and rehab centers offer Suboxone treatment for heroin addictions.
Learn more about medication-assisted treatment options for heroin addiction
How Is Suboxone (Buprenorphine) Used To Treat Heroin Abuse?
Buprenorphine is called a partial opioid agonist, meaning it treats heroin addictions by binding to opioid receptors and activating them at a lower level than full agonists (like heroin) do.
This suppresses the body’s learned cravings for opioids, allowing a safe and healthy way to come off heroin.
It’s a medication that’s approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat opioid use disorders as a medication-assisted treatment method.
There are multiple brand-name buprenorphine medications that are used to treat heroin addictions, including Suboxone, Subutex, and Zubsolv.
Suboxone And Behavioral Therapy For Heroin Recovery
Medication-assisted treatment utilizes a combination of treatment methods to provide a “whole-patient” approach to OUD treatment.
While a person recovering from heroin addiction receives regular doses of Suboxone, they’ll also participate in a variety of therapeutic programs in order to build a sustainable recovery plan.
Therapies and specific programming will depend on the treatment facility, but many programs utilize treatment methods such as:
- group, individual, and family therapy
- evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues
- vocational services
- addiction education classes
- family services
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Effectiveness Of Suboxone (Buprenorphine) In Treating Heroin Addiction
Researchers have concluded that to be effective, buprenorphine must be given at a high regular dose. Patients generally receive 16 milligrams (mg) per day or more.
A study was conducted on Swedish patients coming off opioids to test the effectiveness of buprenorphine.
Of the 16 participants, 100% of the placebo recipients failed to recover as opposed to a 25% failure rate for those who received buprenorphine.
While buprenorphine may not be effective 100% of the time, it was still found to be an effective medication when used consistently.
Benefits Of Choosing Suboxone (Buprenorphine) For Heroin Treatment
The medication has been found to effectively treat opioid-dependent pregnant women, improving the outcome for their babies and reducing symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome.
Another benefit is that buprenorphine is still improving in methods and treatment practices. Now, buprenorphine is available in a once-monthly injection or as an implantable formulation.
Can Using Suboxone To Treat Heroin Abuse Lead To Addiction?
Suboxone, like any other opioid, is susceptible to abuse.
If taken under the correct dosage as prescribed by a medical professional, Suboxone is generally safe to use.
Buprenorphine is less potent than full agonists (drugs that activate opioid receptors in the brain) like methadone, so it generally reduces cravings without creating a dependency.
However, Suboxone can be abused and sold illegally, so it is not without potential for addiction. It should only be taken as directed by a medical professional.
Find Suboxone (Buprenorphine) Treatment For Heroin Addiction
Suboxone treatment is a safe and accessible method of treatment for those struggling with heroin addiction.
For more information on your options for heroin addiction recovery, just call our helpline and talk to a representative who’s here to help.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information — Buprenorphine vs methadone treatment: A review of evidence in both developed and developing worlds
- National Drug Intelligence Center — Intelligence Bulletin: Buprenorphine: Potential for Abuse
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Medications to Treat Opioid Use Disorder Research Report
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — MAT Medications, Counseling, and Related Conditions
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — Information about Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)