Overview of Treatment Protocols

Suboxone, also known as Buprenorphine, is used to ease opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.  In and of itself, Suboxone detox does not constitute treatment.  Treatment programs for individuals using Suboxone combine long-term care with behavioral therapy and counseling, as well as some form of dose-reduction or abstinence-based approach.

Patients undergoing Suboxone treatment require physicians that have received specialized training and certification in addiction medicine to ensure that proper dosages and tapering withdrawal symptoms are carefully monitored at all times.  Not all physicians are capable of administering or monitoring Suboxone treatment without the benefit of specialized training.  The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) plays an important role in influencing the pulse of skilled addiction treatment programs in the United States, thus providing for the safety of patients by impacting educational programs and medical research.

Suboxone Treatment Guidelines

The addiction specialist must determine current levels of withdrawal symptoms from opioids or other drugs immediately.

Each individual must be carefully screened and evaluated by the addiction specialist to make sure that treatment is designed to fit the needs of the individual.

Addiction specialists must be informed if the patient has had adverse reactions to Suboxone in the past or is currently taking any medications that will interact with treatment.

Treatment options are discussed with the addiction specialist (e.g., dose-reduction, abstinence based, and different medication-based approaches) as well as any inherent risks and benefits involved only after a thorough examination and assessment has been completed.

One of the most important guidelines for receiving Suboxone treatment is the level of commitment and motivation that the patient brings to his/her recovery process.

Stages of Treatment:  Overview

Stages of treatment can be briefly summarized as follows:  intake, induction, stabilization, maintenance, and medically supervised withdrawal.  Visits from the addiction specialist are two to three times for the first week, then once or twice a week from then on.  Lab personnel will monitor your urine and blood as counselors keep you busy with private/group sessions and other daily activities.

Day One:  Withdrawal symptoms are ideally within the range of mild to moderately severe with sweats, chills, irritability, watery eyes, and abdominal pain.  Typically, the first day is a two to three hour visit from your addiction specialist, as well as visits from counselors and lab personnel.  Do not take any medication unless you are experiencing mild to moderately severe withdrawals.

Day Two:  You should be experiencing quite a bit of relief from Suboxone.  Expect another visit from your addiction specialist, although most likely the visit will not last as long as it did yesterday.

Day Five:  By today, you are starting to feel like yourself before you became addicted to drugs.  Be sure to tell your addiction specialist exactly how you are feeling.

Week Two:  Your sense of hope is building up slowly but surely.  The thought will probably cross your mind about the actual effectiveness of Suboxone in blocking opiates.  Don’t try it.  Even if you do, it won’t work any more.

Most patients know when they are ready to start tapering their medication.

Suboxone Tapering

Tapering usually occurs over a two week period by gradually reducing dosage 2 mg every two to three days.  If withdrawal symptoms develop, which they may not, a maintenance dose may be administered until the withdrawals subside.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

As previously stated, it is extremely important that withdrawal symptoms be managed only by physicians that are certified addiction specialists.  The addiction specialist ensures the comfort and stability of the patient throughout the tapering process.  Other non-opioid medications such as Clonidine have gained considerable recognition in effectively managing the painful discomfort of withdrawals.

Burning Tree Can Help People on Suboxone

Burning Tree specializes in providing long-term treatment for people who want to get their lives back from an addiction to narcotics.  Our program treats the withdrawal symptoms of opiates by gradually discontinuing Suboxone usage through a carefully monitored, tapering process.  At Burning Tree, we want to help people kick this addiction permanently.  By thoroughly screening our applicants and assessing individual needs on a case by case basis, we will design a treatment plan that safely provides for your comfort and successfully reaches your goal.  Burning Tree’s staff of licensed addiction specialists oversees every aspect of your care from the minute you walk in the door.  We know how to help you.  More importantly, we will teach you how to help yourself re-emerge from this experience as a whole human being.