Is My Loved One a Candidate for Suboxone®?

May 02, 2024
Is My Loved One a Candidate for Suboxone®?
Suboxone® is a medication used to treat opioid use disorder, helping break the cycle of addiction without the serious side effects associated with some other treatments. Here’s how to tell if it might be a good choice for your loved one.

Opioid use disorder and related deaths are increasing in the United States, creating what the federal government has dubbed a national “epidemic.” Widely used for pain management, opioids work on the brain’s pleasure response system, posing a serious addiction risk for millions of people who take them.

Fortunately, opioid use disorder can be treated, regardless of whether the drugs in use are prescription medications or illicit substances. Although breaking the addiction cycle isn’t easy, medication-assisted therapy using a drug called Suboxone® has proven especially effective.

Suboxone is a medication that contains buprenorphine and naloxone, two drugs also used to manage pain. Together, buprenorphine and naloxone help “turn off” the cravings associated with opioids, making it easier to finally quit the habit.

At Cora Health Solutions, Betsy Serrano, PMHNP, offers compassionate, effective, patient-centered addiction treatment using Suboxone to help patients finally break free. Here’s how to tell if Suboxone could be a good choice for your loved one.

They must be diagnosed with opioid use disorder

Suboxone is intended solely for treating opioid use disorder. Prior to prescribing Suboxone for your loved one, our team reviews your loved one’s health history, including their use of prescription and nonprescription opioids like: 

  • Pain medication, like tramadol, oxycodone, or hydrocodone
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Kratom

We also evaluate their overall wellness to ensure they don’t have underlying conditions that could preclude them from taking Suboxone, like thyroid disorders or kidney disease. 

Our team asks about signs of opioid use disorder, like prior unsuccessful attempts to quit, withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit, increasing need for opioids, changes in mood or sleep habits, isolating behaviors, and other changes associated with opioid use disorder. Ultimately, we make a diagnosis based on guidelines included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

They must have a personal desire to quit

Suboxone therapy is ongoing and usually combined with other therapies, like psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s not enough for you to want your loved one to seek help — they must have a personal desire and commitment to break the cycle of addiction and the effects it has on their life.

That desire to quit might seem like an obvious choice to you, but addiction involves a strong reward response that takes root in a person’s brain, affecting their emotions and their physical health, as well. Without a personal desire to quit, your loved one will find it challenging to stick to their therapy over time.

They must be willing to comply with treatment

Addiction treatment is the key to successfully breaking the cycle of addiction, but results don’t happen overnight. Your loved one must be willing and able to take their medication as directed, to keep all office visits, and to attend other therapy sessions as prescribed. 

They must also be committed to adopting healthy lifestyle habits, including avoiding situations where they’re more likely to “slip back” into unhealthy habits that lead to substance use. Our team will be on hand to provide them with professional support, but ultimately, your loved one must be willing and ready to commit themselves to treatment and all it involves.

They must understand the potential side effects of treatment

Suboxone is a medication, and like any medication, it can cause side effects, including:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

The good news: These effects tend to be temporary, going away once the body adjusts to the effects of the medication. Still, your loved one needs to understand that these effects can sometimes be a part of the adjustment period.

Drug addiction can have devastating consequences for the people caught in its web and for those who care about them. To learn how Suboxone can help your loved one break free, call 602-907-5300 or book an appointment online with Cora Health Solutions in the Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona,  today.