Suboxone® is an effective medicine for those suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD), although it contains opioids. It may also be advantageous for OUD-suffering individuals in pain relief. However, there are many layers to this question. So, read the article to understand why Suboxone for pain management may or may not be a good idea.
What Is Suboxone®?
Suboxone® is primarily used to treat opioid addiction. By shunning the opioid receptors present in the brain, it works to combat opioid dependence. Suboxone® is a brand name for the combination of two medicines:
Suboxone® is an FDA-approved medication that is considered safe for addiction treatment. It helps with the following:
- Recurring cravings
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Chronic pain
Does Suboxone Help with Pain?
Suboxone® is a medication specifically designed to minimize the chances of addiction in individuals. The Buprenorphine® in Suboxone® has certain pain-relieving characteristics, which is why doctors might recommend Suboxone for the pain to individuals that struggle with opioid dependence.
Chronic Pain and Suboxone®
Any pain that persists for three to six months is classified as chronic. Therefore, for chronic pain as a stand-alone condition, Suboxone® is not an effective medication. Hence, people not diagnosed with addiction may not benefit as much from Suboxone for pain as those who deal with opioid addiction.
Should You Use Suboxone for Pain Management? What Does the FDA Have to Say About It?
Using Suboxone for pain only is not a good idea and has several implications. People with chronic pain may go to any length to reduce or eradicate pain. This can also mean mixing medications, which are mostly fatal and never recommended. The intended use of Suboxone® or Subutex® is not related to managing pain, nor can it be recommended off-label as per NAABT’s guidelines. Here’s why Suboxone® cannot relieve pain in people without an opioid use disorder:
- Suboxone® cannot effectively manage chronic pain because it contains Buprenorphine®, an opioid antagonist.
- Because Buprenorphine® is metabolized slowly in the liver, its efficacy for treating pain is relatively low. Due to its reduced effectiveness, patients may intake harmful amounts of the drug leading to an overdose.
How Does Suboxone for Pain Work?
Suboxone® may help some individuals experience less pain since opioid receptors control how much pain you feel. There is no doubt that Suboxone® does have some pain-relieving effects. Learn why Suboxone® is recommended off-label
- Suboxone® does not have the same effect on the respiratory system as other opioids.
- This medication can help patients that suffer from OUD.
- The pain-relieving effects can last for as long as 24 hours, reducing the urge to consume more.
- Suboxone® can relieve pain in as little as two hours; the effects do not wear off quickly.
- It has minimized the chance of substance dependency because it does not incite euphoric feelings.
- Buprenorphine® may stimulate dopamine while relieving pain, but it is not as effective as other opioids such as heroin.
Due to all this, the recommendation of Suboxone® is not in compliance with its intended use. However, there are ongoing research studies on this subject. A recent survey conducted in 2021 suggested that Suboxone® is more effective than other opioids for pain management because it has less chance of dependency. As of now, officially, Suboxone for pain is not approved or recommended. Therefore, its safety for chronic pain alone is questionable!
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program at ChoicePoint
Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder is considered quite productive as it uses FDA-approved medicines to minimize cravings and other addictive behaviors. Our MAT program is for people who:
- Suffering from co-occurring disorders
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Want to minimize opioid cravings
To help with the above-mentioned issues, the following medicines are used in our MAT program:
According to the FDA, MAT is an effective treatment for people with SUD or OUD when combined with other behavioral therapies. At ChoicePoint, we accept all commercial insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Bottomline: Is Suboxone for Pain Alone a Good Idea?
Opioids have a long history of being used as pain relievers. Still, due to the alarming increase in opioid use disorder (OUD) among individuals, the use of opioids for medicinal purposes has been shunned to a large extent. Research suggests that 10% of the patients who use prescription opioids for chronic pain abuse them. Therefore, unless your doctor prescribes it, it is not wise to consume any opioid for pain management, including Suboxone®.