Opioid medications, such as fentanyl, can be highly addictive and lead to various health problems, including overdose and death. Their addictive quality has led to an opioid crisis that has devastated individuals, families, and communities across the United States. In response to this crisis, healthcare providers have turned to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help individuals overcome their opioid addiction. One commonly used medication in MAT is Suboxone, a brand name for a medication that contains buprenorphine and naloxone.
What Is Suboxone and How Does It Work?
Suboxone is a medication that helps people who are addicted to opioids. It contains two active ingredients, buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while naloxone prevents people from abusing Suboxone.
Does Suboxone Block Fentanyl?
Yes, Suboxone can block the effects of fentanyl.
Suboxone contains buprenorphine, which is a partial opioid agonist which works by binding to the same receptors in the brain that opioids like fentanyl bind to. When someone takes Suboxone, the buprenorphine in the medication binds to the opioid receptors before fentanyl can. This effectively blocks the effects of fentanyl. But this only happens when individuals consume a high enough dose of Suboxone. If they’re taking a low dose, fentanyl may still have an effect.
In summary, Suboxone blocks the effects of fentanyl through the action of buprenorphine, which binds to opioid receptors more strongly than fentanyl, and naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist.
This means the medication works by binding to the same receptors in the brain that opioids like fentanyl bind to. However, naloxone binds to these receptors much more strongly than opioids do. When someone takes naloxone, it quickly binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and displaces any opioids that are already there.
What Happens When Someone Taking Fentanyl Takes Suboxone?
There are two possible scenarios that could happen when someone using fentanyl takes Suboxone.
- Alleviation of withdrawal symptoms and cravings. If the person is already in withdrawal from fentanyl, taking Suboxone can help alleviate their withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The buprenorphine in Suboxone can bind to the same opioid receptors in the brain that fentanyl does, helping to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
- Precipitated withdrawal. If the person is not already in withdrawal from fentanyl, taking Suboxone can cause them to go into precipitated withdrawal. Precipitated withdrawal is a sudden and intense form of withdrawal that can occur when someone takes Suboxone too soon after their last use of opioids. This is because the buprenorphine in Suboxone binds to opioid receptors more strongly than other opioids like fentanyl, which can quickly displace the fentanyl and cause withdrawal symptoms to occur rapidly and intensely.
If the person is still under the influence of fentanyl, taking Suboxone may not have much effect because the fentanyl will be competing with the buprenorphine for binding to the opioid receptors in the brain. This means that the person may not experience the full benefits of Suboxone, and the risk of overdose from the fentanyl may still be present.
Benefits Of Suboxone
Some of the most common benefits of Suboxone include:
- Reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
- Long-term maintenance treatment for opioid addiction
- Lower potential for abuse and dependence compared to other opioids
- Accessible and convenient since it can be prescribed and administered by healthcare professionals in an outpatient setting
- Reduced risk of overdose
- Can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling, support groups, and other forms of behavioral therapy to promote long-term recovery
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that can have devastating effects on individuals who abuse it. Suboxone is a medication commonly used to treat opioid addiction because it can block fentanyl’s effects. Overall, it’s crucial that individuals who are struggling with opioid addiction seek help from healthcare professionals and have access to life-saving medications to help prevent fatalities and support long-term recovery.
Contact us today if you or a loved one are ready to say goodbye to fentanyl for good.