Both Subutex and Suboxone are prescribed for opioid use disorder. Both contain buprenorphine, a type of opioid that binds to the same brain receptors as drugs like heroin and oxycontin. What differentiates buprenorphine from other opioids is that it has both an opioid effect as well as an anti-opioid effect on the opioid receptor (i.e., it is both an agonist and antagonist). In other words, it treats opioid withdrawal symptoms, cravings and even pain, yet it has a “ceiling effect,” so it is hard to overdose on it alone. Additionally, it is much harder to overdose from other opioids while on buprenorphine as it partially blocks the opioid receptors. It is therefore an ideal medication for opioid users who want to stop using dangerous schedule II opioids and not go through the horrible withdrawals that people experience when they stop using opioids cold turkey.
Why is there naloxone in Suboxone?
The main difference between Suboxone and Subutex is that Suboxone contains naloxone and Subutex does not. The naloxone which is part of Suboxone is the medication that first responders such as paramedics and police officers give to treat acute opioid overdoses. It is an opioid antagonist (it blocks the effect of opioids on the opioid receptor within minutes and can therefore revive/wake up an overdose victim). While it can make withdrawal symptoms worse, the naloxone in Suboxone is not absorbed in any meaningful way; therefore, when taken as prescribed, there is no difference between the effects of Suboxone vs Subutex. It is merely added to prevent people from injecting it into their veins. In that case the mixed-in naloxone would cause withdrawal symptoms rather than a “high.”
In which circumstances is Subutex prescribed?
Subutex is most often given in hospitals and in detoxification facilities because of its potential for misuse—with some rare exceptions, such as when a patient has a reaction to naloxone or if a patient is breastfeeding. Suboxone may be taken at home with a prescription and can now even be prescribed via telemedicine (Tele-MOUD).
Subutex only exists as a sublingual dissolvable tablet, while Suboxone is available as both a dissolvable tablet and sublingual film. For Suboxone, the most common dose is 8 mg of buprenorphine and 2 mg of naloxone, taken twice a day.
Where can I get a Suboxone prescription?
If you are suffering from opioid use disorder, QuickMD can start you on Suboxone online. Just create an account and get a same-day prescription for Suboxone.