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  • Can Suboxone Get You High? | How Suboxone Works

    How Does Suboxone Work orange suboxone pill

    If you or someone you love is considering Suboxone treatment, you may wonder how the drug works and whether it could disrupt recovery by getting the user high.

    Many people suffer from opioid addiction. Also known as opioid use disorder (OUD), this disease causes physical dependence on opioid painkillers like oxycodone, fentanyl, and codeine. 

    When you’re physically dependent on a drug, you’ll likely experience symptoms of withdrawal when you stop taking it. To decrease those symptoms, many people with OUD require medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

    In MAT, health care providers prescribe medications approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help people who are tapering off opioids. One such medication is Suboxone.  

    Can Suboxone Get You High? 

    Because buprenorphine activates opioid receptors, Suboxone can produce a euphoric or “high” feeling if you abuse it (take it in a manner not prescribed by your doctor). However, the high will be much milder compared to highs from full opioid agonists.

    How Suboxone Works

    Suboxone is the brand name for a combination medication that consists of buprenorphine and naloxone. It’s available as a sublingual tablet or film strip. Common side effects include constipation, drowsiness, and headache. 

    What Is Buprenorphine?

    Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. As an opioid, it activates the same opioid receptors in the brain that other opioids do. 

    However, because it’s only a partial opioid agonist, it activates them in a much milder manner than full opioid agonists. Full opioid agonists include drugs like heroin, methadone, and morphine. 

    Buprenorphine’s mild activation of opioid receptors can decrease opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings without causing intense euphoria that can lead to addiction. 

    What Is Naloxone?

    Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that prevents full opioid agonists from activating the brain’s opioid receptors and causing euphoria. It’s often prescribed by itself to reverse an opioid overdose.

    Thus, when you take Suboxone, the naloxone reduces your risk of overdose and relapse while the buprenorphine treats symptoms of OUD. Together, these substances can make recovery from OUD much easier and quicker. 

    How Long Does Suboxone Work?

    In general, one dose of Suboxone will treat withdrawal symptoms and cravings and block the effects of opioids for 24 hours. That’s why most health care providers prescribe the drug for daily use.

    If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid dependence or drug addiction, please reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist to learn about our inpatient and outpatient substance abuse and addiction treatment programs.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Harvard Health Blog - 5 Myths about Using Suboxone to Treat Opiate Addiction
    Indian Health Service - Suboxone FAQ
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - How Do Medications to Treat Opioid Use Disorder Work
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Opioid Overdose Reversal with Naloxone (Narcan, Evzio)
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Buprenorphine Sublingual and Buccal (opioid dependence)

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on April 18, 2022
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