If your loved one is going to a Suboxone doctor for help with an addiction to pain pills, heroin or morphine, he or she is taking a daily dose of medication that blocks the brain's ability to feel withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone was approved in 2002 for treating opiate addiction. Your loved one may only need the Suboxone for a few days or a week and then will taper down the dose to stop it altogether, or may remain on the medication for a longer period of time as a preventative measure. Suboxone programs throughout the country are run the same way.
Film or Wafer: A doctor will decide whether to prescribe a wafer or film. Both of these forms are dissolved under the tongue. The wafer takes 10-15 minutes to dissolve. The film dissolves in less than three minutes. Some doctors insist that their patients use the films because the addict can chop the wafer into powder and snort it up his or her nose.
Privacy: With a Suboxone program, a physician will be seen in a medical office and a prescription will be given to take to the drug store to be filled. Methadone treatment usually requires a daily clinic to receive each dose.
Refills: A Suboxone prescription can be written for a 30-day supply and can have up to five refills. The doctor will most likely write the prescription for less that that, because he or she will want to monitor your loved one closely, but it is not unusual to have one or two refills before having to return to the doctor's office.
Regulations: Doctors receive special training in order to write Suboxone prescriptions. Once they are certified as Suboxone doctors, they are limited to either 30 or 100 patients on their Suboxone roster. This means there may be a wait to begin treatment. It also means if your loved one misses or skips appointments, they may be dropped from the program to make room for a patient who will keep appointments.
Effect: When taken properly, Suboxone will not make your loved one feel high. He or she will feel normal and be able to function without withdrawals. The doctor will dispense a card to be carried that will let medical professionals and EMT workers know that he or she is taking Suboxone. Giving an opiate to a person who has recently taken Suboxone can throw that person into withdrawals. In a medical emergency, medical staff needs to know your loved one is on Suboxone.
Stopping: Once the patient and the doctor decide to discontinue the Suboxone, the doctor will slowly decrease the dose until it is down to nothing. If your loved one just stops without tapering down, he or she has a good chance of suffering from withdrawals.