Suboxone vs. Subutex – Which One is Right for You?

Opioid addicts and their families know the struggle of trying to stop, whether cold turkey, in rehab or other forms of treatment. The number of people in the US who suffer with opioid use disorder is estimated at over 2.5 million, and the mortality rate due to opiates has contributed to lowering the overall life expectancy of the US.

How Both Suboxone & Subutex Came to Be

Scientists and doctors have been searching for the best treatments since the 1960s and so far, the best successes have been achieved with buprenorphine. First on the market as an analgesic in 2002, it was approved for use in narcotic addiction, though physicians are limited in how much they can prescribe, with the most being to 100 people at a time.

If you are addicted to any sort of opioid, whether it’s heroin, fentanyl or a prescription painkiller, then you may have tried to quit and failed. Some may be too concerned about withdrawal symptoms to try. Subutex and Suboxone offer a way to come off those addictive drugs and, along with therapy, begin to build your life again.

These drugs offer a lifeline that wasn’t there before. They are far less likely to be abused than methadone, and they appear to be suitable for long-term use, allowing opioid addicts to recover. Also, because they completely get rid of withdrawals, there’s less chance of relapsing and potentially overdosing.

The Details about Suboxone

Suboxone can only be prescribed by a doctor and is usually taken in sublingual tabs that you place under the tongue. It’s not used as a pain medication. Suboxone is purely a brand name for two drugs combined, buprenorphine and naloxone, sometimes prescribed as Bunavil or Zubsolv. The buprenorphine is the partial opioid agonist in the tablet. This stops you from getting cravings or withdrawing from other opiates.

You may feel slightly euphoric, but it isn’t anything like the disorientating high you get from other opioids. The naloxone reacts if you try and abuse this drug in any way. If you inject it or crush it up and snort it, then you won’t get a high, or even pain relief, as the naloxone prevents this.

Of course, there is the potential for abuse, but it’s much lower with Suboxone than say, methadone. The naloxone also makes abusing it pretty pointless as it could put you into a nasty withdrawal. If you have a co-occurring addiction with alcohol or another drug, then it may not be safe to take Suboxone because it could be life-threatening. You shouldn’t drink alcohol or take sleeping pills whilst taking Suboxone.


The Details about Subutex

Subutex was the first approved partial opioid agonist drug to be used to treat opioid addiction, before Suboxone was developed. The main difference between Subutex and Suboxone is the lack of naloxone in the former. When you come off another opioid and are in a clinic or your doctor’s office, then it’s likely that you will first be given Subutex, and then may move on to Suboxone for maintenance.

People who have been abusing drugs such as heroin for years will have built a high tolerance for opioids, so they are unlikely to feel a high from it, even if they inject it or crush it up. However, because it’s an opioid there have been cases of Subutex being sold on the streets for people to get high, usually people who haven’t a long history of drug use.

But going on Subutex is not trading one addiction for another, as some people like to claim, it’s very effective as part of ongoing therapy for people who have come off other, more destructive opioids.


Which One Is Right for You?

If you are entering a detox or rehabilitation facility, then you will initially take Subutex, probably within a day of your last fix. This will ensure that you do not go into full withdrawal and can be managed by the medical professionals that are at the clinic.

After you have gone through intensive therapy, you might continue on Subutex, particularly if you’re confident that you won’t be in a situation where you’ll be offered other opioids, or if you know that you won’t abuse it.

However, Suboxone is the safer bet, simply because of the naloxone in the tablet. So, even if you think about getting high, the thought of the withdrawal that naloxone will plunge you into, should be off-putting enough, and if you go as far to try and abuse the drug, you will go into that very unpleasant withdrawal.

You could try one and then move to the other, as a study in Finland found that, with the right planning, this was an effective way to prevent addicts from abusing Subutex. The point is that neither should be undertaken without a therapeutic approach, and should be a maintenance therapy for your sobriety, helping you whilst you solve the other issues surrounding your addiction.



[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction. Retrieved from

[2] Buprenorphine. (2013). Buprenorphine. Retrieved from

[3] A retrospective evaluation of patients switched from buprenorphine (subutex) to the buprenorphine/naloxone combination (suboxone). (n.d.). Retrieved from

What if Your Family Doesn’t Support You In Suboxone Treatment?

Does your family support your treatment plan? Some families are not always supportive with their loved ones getting Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) with medications like Suboxone even if they are desperately trying to recover from opioid addiction. For some, suboxone is their best bet to catapult them into long-term recovery.

Regardless of whether or not suboxone is used short-term or long-term, studies in large cities with a high crime rate show that it has helped many sustain long-term recovery.

It’s essential to research how MAT can be useful for opiate addicts to reassure them that this method of treatment works. Read on to learn more about how MAT can help and about some misconceptions your family members may have.

What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Some of you might be wondering “What is MAT and what does it have to do with my opioid addiction?” MAT stands for Medication Assisted Treatment, which means those suffering from opiate addiction can get help from medications prescribed by their doctor. Suboxone, Subutex, and methadone are used in these types of treatments. They are meant to help you get through detox and stay clean while you are still vulnerable to another relapse.

How MAT Helps Addicts in Treatment

Are you curious why Medication Assisted Treatments are so beneficial? Using medications like Suboxone can be sufficient for those who use them as prescribed by a doctor. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, using medications like methadone and Suboxone can actually “restore balance to the brain circuits.” While an addict is using their prescriptions, they are able to heal their brain and can focus on their recovery process. Therefore, during their detox, it can reduce a patient’s cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This is essential in helping an addict stay sober since, without MAT, some people might give in temptation because they don’t want to continue experiencing those withdrawal symptoms.

Get More Intensive Help if You Need it

It’s always recommended to seek medical care during detox because medical professionals can oversee your condition. If you don’t trust yourself in taking the precise number of pills your doctor prescribes, an inpatient rehab treatment center might be the best solution. They can help monitor your pill intake and can also keep you away from temptation.

However, this medication will only work along with an exceptional therapy program and support groups to reinforce your successful recovery. You will still have to share your experiences and past behaviors dealing with opioid drugs. An excellent therapist can help you figure out the reasons why you started using drugs in the first place.

This doesn’t mean everyone has to have MAT to recover from an addiction. You should always consult with your doctor to make sure any type of treatment plan will work with your health condition and if it will benefit your kind of addiction. Some are able to live a drug-free lifestyle without the additional help of Medication Assisted Treatments.

Is Your Family Being Supportive?

Not every family will support their loved one through treatment. Some people merely forgo researching the positive and negative aspects of using medication as a treatment option for opioid addiction. You might not always gain their support in this, but you need to do what’s right for you. The primary goal is getting sober and staying that way. As long as you take the medication correctly, you shouldn’t get addicted to your MAT. However, you should be aware that you can become dependent. It’s important to understand the difference between addiction and dependence.

Why Don’t Families Always Support MAT?

Not all family members think MAT will work, but this could all come down to their ignorance in what MAT really does. This is why research is so crucial in understanding if MAT is right for each opioid addict.

Financial Reasons

When a drug addict tries to seek help and recover from their addiction, sometimes they are too young to support themselves financially. Some addicts have lost their jobs due to their actions while they were high on opioids. Whatever your case might be, you might be depending on family or friends to help support you in rehab. This might cause you to depend on their help to pay for your treatment, as well.

Some families might not agree with specific rehab programs because the of the cost. According to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, it might take several treatments, medication switches, changes to your life choices, and continued family support to get to a place where you are able to recover from your addiction. Most families know how expensive treatments are and it could be one of the reasons they might not support you participating in MAT. However, if you are able to afford it yourself, you and your doctor can decide what your best options are best.


Misconceptions Concerning MAT

There are a lot of misconceptions about using medications to help opioid addicts recover in rehab facilities. Most families think it’s switching one drug for another. However, that’s so far from the truth. Your parents or siblings might worry that these medications could make you high and aren’t any different than the opioids you are addicted to. As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, when you take the dosage precisely as prescribed by your doctor, these medications won’t let you experience any kind of high from it. In simple terms, it really just cancels out the effects the opioids had on your body.

Addiction is a disease. It’s treated as such in a rehab treatment center. Everyone recovers from diseases like diabetes and heart disease in different ways, whether it’s going on a strict diet or using medication prescribed by their doctor. Every person’s recovery process is different just like those with other diseases won’t always need medications to live a healthier lifestyle. Therefore, getting MAT from your doctor or in a rehab treatment center is similar to those who are receiving medication for their diabetes.

However, you should know that there isn’t a cure for this type of disease. Therefore, you will always have to maintain your sobriety and continue getting support from NA meetings, family, and therapy.

Your family might change their minds on not wanting you to use MAT when you start to make smarter choices. Some people can begin to live their lives again by going back to work or school and making healthier choices. Don’t be discouraged by your family, because they only want what’s best for you and might be blinded by what that is by being too overprotective.

Knowing more about MAT can help you and your family feel more comfortable using this type of treatment. There are always some adverse side effects in taking any medication, but there are several positive ones when you use this type of treatment. All you can do is educate your family on the benefits MAT can have with those with opioid addiction. They could change their minds when they have detailed information about how this treatment helps.

Remember; always consult with your doctor before deciding MAT is for you. On top of Suboxone, there are many other options to successfully overcome an addiction to opioids. Your overall health is vital to living your life again!

[1] Sittambalam, C. D., Vij, R., & Ferguson, R. P. (2014). Buprenorphine Outpatient Outcomes Project: can Suboxone be a viable outpatient option for heroin addiction?. Journal of community hospital internal medicine perspectives4(2), 10.3402/jchimp.v4.22902. doi:10.3402/jchimp.v4.22902 Retrieved from

[2] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction. Retrieved from

[3] Is My Son Really in Recovery if He’s Taking Suboxone? (2019, January 28). Retrieved from