If you have been taking an opioid pain medication to help you get relief from chronic pain then once you have been on the medication for a while you shouldn't just quit. You will want to work with your doctor to ease off of the medication and there are a number of ways that this can be done. However, quitting cold turkey is not something you want to do or even should do because the withdrawals can be so difficult. Your doctor may suggest weaning you down from the dose you are on to a lower dose and then putting you on Suboxone. If you are going to be quitting opioid medication and you are unfamiliar with Suboxone, then you may want to read the rest of the information here which will give you more information on getting off opioids, what Suboxone is, and how it can help you.
Since you can't just quit taking an opioid does it mean you are an addict?
Not everyone who takes an opioid medication regularly for pain is an addict, but most who take it regularly will be dependent. Drug dependency is different from drug addiction. With dependency on a medication, you will have withdrawal symptoms because your body has become dependent on that medication. With addiction, there is a change in a person's behavior as they crave more of the medication. With addiction, the person will have an inability to control their use and they will exhibit signs of addiction which can include things like finishing their prescription early and seeking out more, lying about their use, stealing to get more, etc. Whether someone is dependent, addicted, or both, Suboxone can be used as a part of the process to get them off of the opioid medication.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a medication that contains a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine. The combination of these two medications creates a medication that can help someone come off of opioids without as serious of withdrawal symptoms. It is usually used as a part of a program which can also include being closely monitored by the physician and receiving counseling, especially if there is a clear-cut addiction to opioids.
How is Suboxone taken?
Suboxone comes in an oral form as tablets or as film strips. Both the tablets and one of the film strips are sublingual and this means that you will place them under your tongue and they will dissolve. Once you place them under your tongue, you won't want to eat or drink anything until they are all gone, but it won't take long at all for them to dissolve. There is another type of film strip and it will go between your gums and your cheek where you will let it dissolve fully before eating or drinking.
A doctor will choose the dose of the Suboxone depending on the severity of your dependence on opioids. The goal will be to then taper you down from your starting dose over time until you get to the point where you are ready to be completely taken off of the medication.