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What is Suboxone used for?

Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is a long-acting, partial opioid agonist used to treat opioid use disorder. 

Patients who have been taking opioids, like oxycodone (percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone, heroin, fentanyl, on a daily basis can become dependent on these substances, meaning that if they do not take them daily, they will experience awful withdrawal symptoms, like nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, agitation/anxiety. Many people become addicted and the opioids start to take control of their life. They have cravings, think about opiates all the time, and are unable to fulfill their daily responsibilities like going to work or taking care of friends and family. It becomes an “all consuming disease”.

Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) works by stabilizing the brain. By binding to the opiate receptors in the brain, Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) prevents withdrawal symptoms, staves off cravings, and also blocks these receptors so other opioids (like heroin or fentanyl) cannot bind, preventing overdoses and saving lives. As a partial agonist (meaning it only partially stimulates the opioid receptor), Burpneorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) rarely causes patients to feel “high.” Rather, patients taking buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) should feel NORMAL, able to go about their day and live their life to its fullest. For these reasons, Buprnorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is considered very safe, and it is considered evidence-based treatment for opioid addiction. 

Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is most effective when used in conjunction with counseling and psychosocial support.

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH, is a board-certified Family Medicine Physician and Head of Research at Bicycle Health. She earned her Medical Degree from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine (in the Rural Primary Care Track) and her Master of Public Health (MPH) from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Dr. Rollston completed her residency at Tufts University and Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard-affiliated community healthcare system in Greater Boston, with emphases in addiction medicine and sexual & reproductive health. Her professional interests focus on social determinants of health & health equity, addiction medicine, gender-based violence, sexual & reproductive health, rural health, homelessness & supportive housing, and immigrant health. Dr. Rollston has published on these topics in The Lancet, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, American Journal of Health Promotion, Journal of Appalachian Health, and Medical Care.

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Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH, is a board-certified Family Medicine Physician and Head of Research at Bicycle Health. She earned her Medical Degree from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine (in the Rural Primary Care Track) and her Master of Public Health (MPH) from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Dr. Rollston completed her residency at Tufts University and Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard-affiliated community healthcare system in Greater Boston, with emphases in addiction medicine and sexual & reproductive health. Her professional interests focus on social determinants of health & health equity, addiction medicine, gender-based violence, sexual & reproductive health, rural health, homelessness & supportive housing, and immigrant health. Dr. Rollston has published on these topics in The Lancet, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, American Journal of Health Promotion, Journal of Appalachian Health, and Medical Care.

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