How to Get Emergency Suboxone

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Medications like Suboxone play an important role in curbing cravings for opioids and treating opioid use disorder (OUD). The buprenorphine in Suboxone eases withdrawal and cravings, while the naloxone ingredient prevents from misusing the medication. While Suboxone is helpful, it can be hard to get. 

If you need Suboxone for an OUD and you’re struggling to get help, you have options. A visit to an emergency room, urgent care clinic, or your doctor might be helpful. You could also work with online clinics like Bicycle Health to get emergency Suboxone. 

Emergency Suboxone Options

Some experts argue that small supplies of buprenorphine should be available without a prescription for emergency use to prevent patients from opioid use whiel they seek more long-term help [1] In general, Suboxone is safe and relatively easy to use emergently if you are acutely withdrawing from opioids. 

Even so, federal law prohibits pharmacies from selling buprenorphine without a prescription. If you need emergency Suboxone, you'll need a prescription to get it. 

Hospital Emergency Rooms 

Emergency room doctors often see people who are acutely withdrawing from opioids, and can provide immediate Suboxone for relief. 

In 2002, emergency department physicians were granted approval to use buprenorphine for acute opioid withdrawal.[2] Doctors can prescribe Suboxone in the emergency room while also often referring patients to a treatment program on discharge so they can be connected to more long term Suboxone therapy. 

A prescription like this is sometimes called a bridge prescription, as it's designed to help you transition from the emergency room to a more long-term clinic. 

Primary Care Physicians 

Primary care Doctors can prescribe medications like Suboxone. [3] In most states, they must take some additional training, called waiver training, although some states have now eliminated that requirement. Doctors must still provide some paperwork to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and they must keep track of how many people they treat for OUD. 

While expansion of Suboxone to primary care offices has greatly increased accessibility of this life-saving medication, it can still be hard to get an appointment emergently with a PCP. On average, patients may have to wait 26 days to see their primary care doctors.[4] 

If you need emergency Suboxone, advocate for yourself: you must tell the receptionist you can't wait for an appointment to open up. Many primary care offices keep slots available each day or at least weekly for emergency visits.  

Urgent Care Clinics 

The United States has more than 9,000 urgent care centers.[5] People with conditions that aren't quite serious enough for the emergency room but too difficult to handle at home can get the help they need in facilities like this. You could visit an urgent care clinic and get emergency Suboxone.

Doctors in urgent care centers face the same guidelines and limitations emergency room doctors do. Some urgent care clinics may have providers that can prescribe Suboxone, or know where to refer you more urgently if they do not. 

Pharmacies 

Pharmacies can refill Suboxone prescriptions written by authorized medical professionals, but they cannot dispense the medication without a prescription. You can’t visit your pharmacy and get Suboxone at this time.

Some pharmacies form partnerships with urgent care clinics. In this model, you could get a prescription from a doctor and fill it in the same location. But this type of service isn’t available everywhere. If you aren't sure where to go, you can always ask your pharmacist to point you in the right direction for where you can go locally to obtain a Suboxone prescription. 

Understand Suboxone Refill Regulations: How Can You Get More?

Suboxone prescriptions are tightly regulated. An emergency prescription could help you through a difficult moment, but you'll likely need a refill. And that can be hard to get. 

Researchers say long Suboxone treatment leads to better chances of sustained OUD recovery.[6] Your brain needs time to heal from opioid damage, and some people take Suboxone indefinitely to avoid relapse risks. 

While Suboxone can be useful short term for acute withdrawal, anyone with an OUD should get connected to a primary care physician, a doctor at an addiction clinic, or a similar medical professional for a more long term treatment plan. 

You must become established as a patient — not someone accessing emergency care repeatedly — and keep your appointments. If you have never had a long term prescription before, ask the prescribing provider how to get set up with a long term prescription to prevent relapse and maintain treatment for OUD. 

Emergency Suboxone Clinic Near Me 


Telemedicine has revolutionized almost every part of health care, including Suboxone therapy. Bicycle Health can connect you with licensed, qualified professionals who can manage your OUD recovery, including your Suboxone prescription.

Getting started with Bicycle Health is easy. Follow these steps:

  1. Call us. Tell us about your health, your symptoms, and your OUD. We'll help you decide if our program is a good fit for you.
  2. Meet with our providers. Connect with a qualified practitioner via our safe and secure telemedicine process. You'll get a care plan made just for you and your addiction. 
  3. Pick up your Suboxone. Our providers send your prescription to a pharmacy near your home. You can pick it up the same day. 

Don't struggle to get the help you need. Contact us today and get started on the path to a healthier life.

Sources

  1. Offering Emergency Buprenorphine Without a Prescription. JAMA. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8048041/. April 2021. Accessed October 2022.
  2. Initiating Buprenorphine Treatment in the Emergency Department. National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://nida.nih.gov/nidamed-medical-health-professionals/discipline-specific-resources/emergency-physicians-first-responders/initiating-buprenorphine-treatment-in-emergency-department. September 2019. Accessed October 2022.
  3. FAQs About the New Buprenorphine Practice Guidelines. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/become-buprenorphine-waivered-practitioner/new-practice-guidelines-faqs. March 2022. Accessed October 2022.
  4. Physician Appointment Wait Times Have Increased Significantly, Survey Finds. Healthleaders. https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/clinical-care/physician-appointment-wait-times-have-increased-significantly-survey-finds. September 2022. Accessed October 2022.
  5. Now More Than 9,000 Urgent Care Centers in the U.S., Industry Report Says. Fierce Healthcare. https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/practices/now-more-than-9-000-urgent-care-centers-u-s-industry-report-says. February 2020. Accessed October 2022. 
  6. Extended Suboxone Treatment Substantially Improves Outcomes for Opioid-Addicted Young Adults. National Institute of Health. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/extended-suboxone-treatment-substantially-improves-outcomes-opioid-addicted-young-adults. November 2008. Accessed October 2022.

Medically Reviewed By Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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