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Alternatives to Suboxone Treatment

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SuboxoneSuboxone, a combination drug that includes buprenorphine and naloxone, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exclusively for the treatment of opiate addiction.[1] However, the drug has come under fire in recent years due to the risk of developing a secondary addiction as well as accidental overdose.

Among the issues that have been part of the recent Suboxone debate in recent months include:

  • Deaths of children who found their parents’ Suboxone prescription and died after taking the drug
  • The diversion of Suboxone to the street where it is abused in combination with other drugs
  • Whether or not the abuse-resistant film version of Suboxone should completely replace the oft-abused sublingual tablets
  • Whether or not generic versions of the drug should be allowed
  • Whether or not an injection version of Suboxone called Probuphine should be approved for use in opiate addiction treatment

Despite the petition to stop the approval of generic versions of the drug by Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of Suboxone, the FDA has approved two different generic options.[2] Whether or not they will approve Probuphine treatment is still up for debate, as is the decision of insurance companies to again cover the tablet versions of the drug over the film version in the interest of protecting small children. As the conversations continue, many patients are hoping to bypass all the debates by simply choosing another method of opiate detox. Although not as simple as a Suboxone[3] prescription that can be taken at home, there are other ways to deal with opiate addiction.


Methadone is by far the most popular treatment for opiate addiction and has been for decades. It can be used for patients with either high-dose or low-dose heroin addictions. Suboxone can only be used for patients with low-dose addictions. Methadone is highly regulated by the federal government, and patients are required to come to a methadone clinic for their treatment. While there, patients take a liquid version of the drug in front of a substance abuse treatment professional, thus limiting the abuse potential. Additionally, doses can be lowered milligram by milligram to meet the comfort level of the patient.

Cold Turkey

The benefit of quitting the use of heroin or prescription painkillers without any medication assistance is the brevity of the experience, although being monitored by a physician or addiction professional is the safest option. Rather than dragging out the detox for months or even years, patients push through the intensely difficult withdrawal symptoms in about a week. Once detox is over, patients are completely drug-free and ready to begin the psychotherapeutic healing process.


Any method of opiate detox has its challenges. Suboxone patients may experience complications if they relapse while on the medication. Methadone patients struggle with upholding the stiff federal regulations as they attempt to build a new life in recovery. Patients who opt for cold turkey detox may experience medical complications and fear the extreme discomfort of the experience. Learning more about your options can help you make the best choice for your unique situation.

If you are unsure which opiate detox method is the right one for you or your loved one, we can help. Contact us at Michael’s House today to discuss the different opiate rehab options available.

[1] “Suboxone,” April 3, 2017. Accessed April 11, 2017.

[2] Business Wire. “Amneal Pharmaceuticals Receives FDA Approval for Generic Suboxone,” February 25, 2013. Accessed April 11, 2017.

[3] The Mayo Clinic. “Buprenorphine/Naloxone,” March 1, 2017. Accessed April 11, 2017.