Suboxone Treatment Requirements: Suboxone Therapy Patient Responsibilities

Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) has risks and advantages, just like any other medicine. Both the provider and the patient are responsible for ensuring that Suboxone is used appropriately and successfully. Patients, on the other hand, have a number of crucial responsibilities:

12/23/20224 min read

Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) has risks and advantages, just like any other medicine. Both the provider and the patient are responsible for ensuring that Suboxone is used appropriately and successfully. Patients, on the other hand, have a number of crucial responsibilities:
1. Follow your doctor's instructions for taking your medication.

The patient's first responsibility is to take the dose as prescribed and agreed upon by them and their healthcare professional. There are various reasons for this: lowering the dose implies the patient may not achieve therapeutic levels and may continue to have cravings or withdrawal symptoms. Taking too high a dose too soon can cause GI distress, nausea, and vomiting, among other things. You can always change your dose if you think it's too high or too low! The most essential thing is to keep in touch with your doctor so you may safely alter your medication dosage together.

2. Keep track of all of your booked appointments.

If you don't show up for your treatment, your provider won't be able to help you! Furthermore, missing visits might result in missed prescription refills, therapy gaps, and relapse. If you need to cancel an appointment, make sure you have a plan in place to contact your physician and reschedule or find another way to acquire your meds.

3. Make sure you follow your clinic's drug-screening policies when it comes to urine drug testing.

Urine drug screening is required by all clinics that dispense buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone). These drug tests look for two things: 1) that the patient's body contains the Suboxone metabolite, and 2) that the patient's body contains no other drug products. Finally, the testing is for the patient's benefit; it ensures that Suboxone is not mixed with other pharmaceuticals that could be hazardous when used with Suboxone. It also ensures that Suboxone is present in the body of the patient.

4. Make a firm commitment to your treatment!
It can take some time for your body to adjust to buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone). Be patient, trust the process, and follow your doctor's Suboxone instructions to the letter.
Who Is Suboxone Treatment Appropriate For?

If you have an opioid or opiates addiction (such as oxycodone/Percocet, hydrocodone/Vicodin, hydromorphone/Dilaudid, methadone, heroin, or fentanyl), buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) may be a good drug to help you avoid cravings, withdrawals, and overdose. Suboxone is also safe to use when pregnant.

Patients must be at least 16 years old and meet the following DSM-5 criteria for opioid use disorder (OUD) as determined by a full medical assessment:

  • Your provider will evaluate your eligibility for Suboxone during this initial exam by assessing your opioid use history and current usage, your opioid withdrawal symptoms, and your prior experience with OUD therapies.

  • Because Suboxone is susceptible to diversion and abuse, doctors will analyze a patient's level of stability, the security of his or her living circumstances, and other factors that may affect the patient's capacity to manage take-home medicine supplies.

Individuals Who Aren't Suboxone Eligible
  • Suboxone treatment may not be appropriate if the patient has serious, severe, and uncontrolled/untreated psychiatric disorders (suicide, active psychosis, etc.). Patients with milder psychiatric issues, on the other hand, may be put on Suboxone to stabilize their addiction and clear their minds, and then receive more in-depth treatment for their mood (such as starting new drugs and/or seeing a therapist).

  • Suboxone use may be contraindicated if the patient has a serious alcohol use disorder. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system by acting as a depressant. There is an increased risk of sedation, difficulty breathing, overdose, and mortality when buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) and alcohol are combined.

  • Suboxone treatment may have to be postponed if the patient abuses benzodiazepines, sedatives, or hypnotics. Suboxone might produce sedation at initially, thus it should not be combined with other sedating medications (benzodiazepines including alprazolam/Xanax, clonazepam/Klonopin, diazepam/Valium, and lorazepam/Ativan; muscle relaxants; tranquilizers; sleeping agents; alcohol). (Using too many sedatives might cause respiratory depression and possibly overdosing.)

  • If a patient has a known allergy or hypersensitivity to buprenorphine, Suboxone should not be provided. This is, however, a very rare occurrence.

When You Begin Suboxone Treatment, Here's What to Expect
Treatment usually starts with supervised administration and then progresses to unsupervised administration when the patient's clinical stability allows.

When you start Suboxone, you must be suffering withdrawal symptoms, and your physician will guide you through the procedure so that you can start safely and with minimal discomfort. Learn more about the initial withdrawal symptoms during the start period of treatment.

Patients should be seen at acceptable intervals based on their specific circumstances (e.g., at least weekly throughout the first month of treatment). The frequency of visits should be taken into account while prescribing medication. Multiple refills are not recommended early in treatment or in the absence of proper patient follow-up visits. Compliance with the dose regimen, the effectiveness of the treatment plan, and overall patient improvement all require periodic evaluation.

Less frequent follow-up visits may be suitable once a stable dosage has been obtained and patient assessment (e.g., urine drug screening) does not indicate illegal drug usage. Patients on a stable medication dosage who are making progress toward their treatment goals may find a once-monthly visit schedule suitable.

Pharmacotherapy should be continued or modified based on the healthcare provider's assessment of treatment outcomes and objectives, such as:

  • There is no toxicity from the drug.

  • There are no medical or behavioral side effects.

  • The patient's medication management is responsible.

  • Compliance with all aspects of the treatment plan (including recovery-oriented activities, psychotherapy, and/or other psychosocial modalities) by the patient.

  • Abstinence from illegal drugs (including alcohol and/or benzodiazepine abuse).

  • If the treatment goals aren't being met, the healthcare provider should be notified.

  • re-evaluate whether or not the existing treatment is still appropriate.