Can Suboxone Be Used To Treat Pain?
Chronic, debilitating pain is a serious issue in the United States and affects millions of Americans. Not only do people having to cope with chronic pain have to deal with a number of physical and emotional ramifications, but it can be quite damaging financially as well. It is estimated that approximately $60 billion dollars are lost every year for people who are unable to work because of their chronic pain condition. Furthermore, not only can chronic pain affect a person’s ability to work, and perform normal day-to-day tasks, but it can also strain relationships and take an emotional and mental toll on the individual. Currently, the most effective way to treat chronic, debilitating pain is through the use of opioid medications.
Opioid Medications for Pain Relief
One of the most widely used treatments for chronic pain relief is the use of opioid pain medications such as oxycontin, vicodin, morphine, codeine and percocet. These medications are very effective at controlling and eliminating pain and are safe, if taken properly. However, most opioid based pain medications are not meant for long term use because of the risk of addiction and dependency. This is why doctors rarely prescribe powerful opioid based painkillers for an extended period of time. These risk factors go up exponentially for patients with a prior history of drug addiction.
Suboxone for Long Term Pain Relief
Suboxone is a new medication that shows great promise for the treatment of chronic, debilitating pain. Suboxone is based off of a recently FDA-approved drug called buprenorphine. Buprenorphine comes in two forms, Suboxone and Subutex. The only difference between these two medications is that subutex is comprised only of buprenorphine while suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naxalone, which helps to minimize abuse. Suboxone was originally created to treat people who are suffering from an addiction to opiates and is meant to help them taper off these drugs without feeling powerful withdrawal symptoms. However, in recent years suboxone has become an attractive option for treating long-term pain relief.
Because Suboxone is a partial opiate and works to block pain receptors in the brain, it has become a more attractive option of doctors looking to treat long-term chronic pain. This is because suboxone comes with a much lower risk of physical dependency than full opiates do like oxycontin and vicodin, and have milder withdrawal symptoms when the treatment ends.
While Suboxone has been shown to be an excellent pain medication alternative, it is not currently approved by the FDA for pain relief. Secondly, suboxone should be taken under the supervision of a trained medical doctor. Suboxone should not be taken with other pain medications or alcohol and can be very dangerous if mixed with sedatives or depressants. It is important to remember that managing chronic pain should also include more than just medication, but non-medication based treatments that address the emotional and psychological components of chronic pain.