Suboxone is the first opioid medication approved under DATA 2000 for the treatment of opioid dependence in an office-based setting. Suboxone also can be dispensed for take-home use, just as any other medicine for other medical conditions.
The primary active ingredient in Suboxone is buprenorphine.
Because buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, its opioid effects are limited compared with those produced by full opioid agonists, such as oxycodone or heroin. Suboxone also contains naloxone, an opioid antagonist.
The naloxone in Suboxone is there to discourage people from dissolving the tablet and injecting it. When Suboxone is placed under the tongue, as directed, very little naloxone reaches the bloodstream, so what the patient feels are the effects of the buprenorphine. However, if naloxone is injected, it can cause a person dependent on a full opioid agonist to quickly go into withdrawal.
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