A Unique Practice in Augusta, Georgia
Dedicated Exclusively to Treating Opiate Addiction
First, and most importantly: Dr. Whittingslow DOES NOT prescribe Subutex (or it's generic). The DEA guidelines only allow for Subutex to be prescribed during the induction phase of treatment (the first couple of days). After that induction phase, you must be switched to Suboxone. That is why it is always best to start on Suboxone and therefore not have to go through yet another change. Below is generic information (from a third party) about the two medications, and is not the opinion nor treatment of our clinic, Augusta Buprenorphine Treatment.
If you are addicted to opiates, do you need to take buprenorphine,
Suboxone or Subutex – and what's the difference between these anyway?
Buprenorphine is an opiate, actually it's a partial opiate agonist (kind of
like an opiate that doesn’t work that well) and it is the active "opiate"
ingredient in both Suboxone and Subutex. Subutex and Suboxone are
the only 2 FDA approved medications containing the opiate buprenorphine
for use in the treatment of addiction.
Suboxone and Subutex – What's the Difference?
Both are pills that you take sublingually (let dissolve under the
Subutex is a pill that contains only one medicinal ingredient –
Suboxone is a pill that contains 2 medicinal ingredients –
buprenorphine and Naloxone – in a 4-1 ratio.
Why are they different?
When you start taking buprenorphine, you will likely start with a couple of
days of induction. A couple of days during which time your body is
growing accustomed to the switch from your drug of abuse to the
buprenorphine, and during which time your doctor will be adjusting the
dosage to get optimal results. During this induction phase, Subutex is
often used. Some doctors prefer to use only Suboxone from the start.
After the induction phase you will be given Suboxone, which is a mixture
of 2 drugs, buprenorphine and Naloxone, and you will stay on Suboxone
until you decide to stop buprenorphine therapy entirely. Subutex is used
only in the beginning (or in some cases for people with unique medical
Why Does Suboxone Contain Naloxone?
One of the main reasons why people prefer Suboxone to methadone is
that Suboxone can be prescribed in a take home dose of several weeks
or a month, while methadone must be taken under supervision in a clinic
each day. One of the main reasons why Suboxone can be taken home is
because it contains Naloxone, and that Naloxone makes it a lot tougher to
abuse. Naloxone is an opiate antagonist. If you were to take only
Naloxone, you would not be able to feel the effects of any opiate type
drugs. If you took a dose of Naloxone and then took heroin – you would
not feel the heroin. Suboxone is taken sublingually. When the pill is
dissolved under the tongue – the buprenorphine in the pill is absorbed
into the body, but the Naloxone is not. Naloxone just doesn't work very
well sublingually. If you take Suboxone as directed, sublingually, the
Naloxone does not work, and you only get the effects of the opiate
If you try to abuse Suboxone by injecting it, then the Naloxone is
completely activated, and will block all of the effects of the buprenorphine.
If you inject Suboxone, the Naloxone will fill the opiate receptors in the
brain and not only will you not get high – you will go into an immediate
and full state of opiate withdrawal.
The Naloxone in Suboxone makes it less likely abused, and since you
probably won't abuse it, there is no reason why you can't take home a
few weeks supply at a time.