Information about Buprenorphine/Naloxone
(Suboxone, Zubsolv, Bunavail, buprenorphine)
Buprenorphine is a powerful tool in the treatment of opioid dependence. There are numerous considerations which should be taken into consideration when starting, maintaining and when considering stopping buprenorphine. These include:
Buprenorphine is a long term treatment.
Scientific studies show a very high relapse rate in individuals who use buprenorphine for only a short term. If you cannot commit to long term treatment (at least one year), you should consider options other than buprenorphine.
Buprenorphine treatment is expensive.
We do not want to start you on a medication you cannot afford. Check with your insurance carrier, as many insurance plans do provide financial support for buprenorphine treatment, but the product they approve varies by plan. Many plans also require a preauthorization before paying for buprenorphine, which means you will need to be able to fill a buprenorphine prescription from a pharmacy prior to receiving medication at The Recovery Center.
Buprenorphine is an opioid.
Buprenorphine is an opioid which is FDA approved for the treatment of opioid dependency. It is a highly refined and unique medication with less abuse potential than other opioids. Because of its pharmacology, it relieves the feeling of being “physically dependent” on opioid in individuals with opioid dependence. There are withdrawal symptoms when stopping buprenorphine, and there is a high risk of relapse back to opioid use when you stop using buprenorphine.
Buprenorphine is controversial in the recovering community.
Because buprenorphine is an opioid, it is not accepted in some treatment programs and recovery groups and in many “clean and sober” housing. Some family members express concern when people are started on buprenorphine. You should take this into consideration before starting buprenorphine. We feel that the strongest advocates for buprenorphine treatment are individuals who are stable on buprenorphine and rebuilding their lives. A stable, recovering patient is the one who will ultimately determine the success of buprenorphine as a treatment and the ultimate duration of treatment!
Buprenorphine has abuse and misuse potential.
We combine buprenorphine treatment with traditional drug treatment, to help individuals stabilize and not misuse their medication. Because of the higher risk of abuse, we prescribe only buprenorphine/naloxone combination products rather than buprenorphine mono products. Misuse and diversion of medication should always be taken into consideration when starting or continuing buprenorphine treatment
Buprenorphine is prescribed by community physicians who have the “DATA 2000 Waiver” allowing them to prescribe buprenorphine. We are often referred patients who are not doing well in the community who wish to continue their buprenorphine treatment and combine it with inpatient substance use treatment in an effort to achieve more stability in their recovery.
If you wish to start buprenorphine treatment at the Recovery Center:
If you are coming to the Recovery Center with opioid dependence and wish to start buprenorphine treatment, you will undergo an assessment by our chemical dependency professionals and our medical staff to ensure that you understand buprenorphine treatment and are considered a good candidate for this treatment. Once buprenorphine treatment is recommended, and you are able to fill a buprenorphine prescription (which our medical staff can write), you will be started on buprenorphine.
Due to prescribing limitations on buprenorphine, our medical staff is not able to follow all patients started on buprenorphine long term. If you do not already have a buprenorphine physician, we will help you locate one as a part of your aftercare plan and you can schedule a follow up appointment.
If you come to the Recovery Center having started buprenorphine elsewhere:
If you come to us already using buprenorphine, you will stay on it through our residential treatment program. Dosage adjustments may be made at the discretion of the medical staff. We do not support your tapering or stopping your buprenorphine during residential treatment because of the high levels of relapse in individuals coming off their buprenorphine during this time.
If you decide on buprenorphine treatment while in our residential program:
If you decide you want buprenorphine treatment while in our residential treatment program, our treatment team will assist you in this decision. If approved as a part of your treatment plan, you will be able to leave the facility on pass to see a buprenorphine provider (ideally the same provider you will see for your long term care). At that time, we will be able to start the treatment.
For additional information, please see: