Medication Assisted Treatment
how safe is suboxone
By BrightView
Author Rhonda Roper, LCSW, LISW
Avatar photo
Rhonda Roper, LCSW, LISW

Rhonda serves as BrightView Health’s Vice President of Quality Operations. Prior to joining BrightView in 2020, Rhonda has over 18 years’... read more

Published: February 22, 2022
Updated: February 15, 2022

Medication for addiction treatment, or MAT, is a common choice for recovery from opioid use disorder. Many people in MAT programs receive the medication Suboxone. This medication is itself an opioid, which may raise concerns about its safety as a treatment option. Such concerns are natural for anyone seeking help for a serious opioid problem. But research shows that a well-designed Suboxone treatment program supports an effective recovery while keeping safety margins high.

If you are affected by opioid use disorder, talk to the specialists at BrightView. With our help, you can create a realistic path to a lasting recovery. Call us today at 888.501.9865 for more information on our available treatment options.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a branded product that contains two medications. The first of these medications is the opioid buprenorphine. Scientists classify buprenorphine as a weak opioid. This means that it only triggers a partial response in your brain’s natural opioid receptors. A weaker response in these receptors means less euphoria than you would get from a strong opioid such as:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone

In turn, a lower level of euphoria translates into less temptation to use the medication improperly.

The second medication in Suboxone is the anti-opioid naloxone. Naloxone acts as a kind of shut-off switch by limiting the availability of buprenorphine. In this way, it provides another safeguard against Suboxone misuse.

How Safe Is Suboxone: Dependence Risks

Any opioid substance can trigger opioid dependence and addiction. This fact applies to the buprenorphine in Suboxone. However, the medication is specifically designed to deter dependence and addiction. When used as directed during treatment, it won’t produce feelings of euphoria. Instead, it will provide your body with just enough opioids to help reduce your withdrawal symptoms.

If you try to misuse Suboxone, its naloxone content will limit the amount of euphoria you feel. This shut-off mechanism is even stronger if you try to break the medication down and inject it. In addition, buprenorphine has a built-in ceiling effect. This effect limits Suboxone’s maximum euphoric impact inside your brain.

How Safe Is Suboxone: Overdose Risks

If you take too much of any opioid, it can overwhelm your system and trigger an overdose. But this is very uncommon for people taking Suboxone. There are two layers of overdose protection. First, the presence of naloxone limits the amount of opioids that build up in your system. Buprenorphine’s ceiling effect also helps prevent overdoses from occurring.

How to Use Suboxone Safely

All reputable treatment providers learn how to use Suboxone safely. Several elements are required to meet this crucial goal, including:

  • Following the FDA’s established safe use conditions
  • Regular monitoring of anyone receiving the medication

Safe use conditions establish a protocol that doctors must follow when prescribing Suboxone. This protocol includes ensuring that you meet the criteria for opioid use disorder. It also includes giving you clear instructions on how to take Suboxone. In addition, it includes starting you off on limited amounts of the medication to see how you will respond.

Regular monitoring requires you to periodically check in with your doctor while taking Suboxone. When you check-in, your level of compliance with your prescription will be assessed. Your doctor will also assess your current dosage and progress toward your overall recovery goals. In addition, your doctor will look for any potential problems.

BrightView: Providing You Safe Access to the Benefits of Suboxone

BrightView offers Suboxone treatment at conveniently located outpatient centers in cities across Ohio. In all cases, we place a heavy emphasis on providing effective treatment while maximizing your safety. We treat you like a person. We treat addiction as a disease. To learn more, call us today at 888.501.9865.