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What is Subutex and Is it a Safe Treatment for Opiate Addiction?

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While most everyone has heard of methadone and its use as an opiate addiction treatment, Subutex is one of the newer opiate addiction treatment medications. First developed in 2002 as an alternative to methadone treatment, Subutex offers certain benefits that methadone doesn’t in terms of accessibility and overall safety.

Like methadone, Subutex is used in combination with psychosocial interventions and can also be used during different stages of the treatment process.

If you’re considering Subutex and need information on rehab programs that offer this form of treatment, call our toll-free helpline at 877-743-0081 (Who Answers?).

What is Subutex?

According to the Food & Drug Administration, Subutex is the brand name for buprenorphine, a synthetic opiate specifically designed as an opiate addiction treatment medication. As a synthetic opiate, Subutex belongs to the Schedule III class of controlled substances and carries a reduced risk for abuse and addiction compared to methadone’s Schedule II classification.

Subutex Use as an Opiate Addiction Treatment

Subutex acts as a partial-agonist, meaning it doesn’t fully stimulate the brain’s receptor sites. According to the Journal of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, compared to methadone, this partial effect comes with certain safety benefits, including:

Treatment for Opiate Addiction

Subutex as a long-term maintenance treatment can help you feel normal again.

  • Reduced abuse/addiction potential
  • Reduced risk of overdose
  • Milder withdrawal effects when stopping Subutex use
  • Can be administered on an out-of-office basis
  • Can be taken every other day as opposed to methadone’s daily dose requirement

Detox Treatment

Subutex’s therapeutic effects mimic those of addictive opiates, providing considerable relief from the types of uncomfortable withdrawal and drug cravings effects experienced in detox treatment. As withdrawal and drug cravings can quickly compromise a person’s ability to make it through detox, Subutex increases the likelihood a person will successfully complete the detox stage.

Long-Term Maintenance Therapy

People coming off chronic and long-term opiate addiction tend to experience prolonged withdrawal effects, such as depression, anxiety and insomnia for months or even years into the recovery process. Much like its use as a detox treatment medication, Subutex can also be used as a long-term maintenance therapy.

Subutex’s use as a long-term therapy enables a person to feel “normal” again, which increases his or her ability engage in the treatment process.

Psychosocial Interventions

While Subutex does a good job at relieving many of the discomforts that come with opiate addiction recovery, it’s effects don’t address the damaging effects of addiction on a person’s thinking, emotions and behavior. For this reason, Subutex treatment incorporates ongoing psychosocial interventions as a part of this treatment approach.

Interventions commonly used include:

In effect, Subutex’s effects treat the brain’s ongoing physical dependence on opiates, while psychosocial interventions treat the psychological dependence that opiate addiction leaves behind.


While methadone and Subutex do many of the same things, the built-in safety features provided through Subutex treatment may be better suited for people who’ve experienced one or more overdose events. Subutex also works especially well for people who’ve made little no progress through more traditional drug treatment approaches.

Call our toll-free helpline at 877-743-0081 (Who Answers?) to ask about available Subutex treatment options.

Does Subutex Block Opiates?

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Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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