www.suboxonedoctor.com - Suboxone Doctor
Posted By Jun - SuboxoneDoctor.com Team on 09/22/2022 in Opioid Treatment

Can Suboxone Be Used for Pain?

Can Suboxone Be Used for Pain?

Suboxone is an FDA-approved medication primarily used to treat opioid addiction. However, people addicted to opioids can use them to relieve chronic pain if the circumstances are justified. 

In this blog post, we'll talk about the viability of Suboxone as a treatment for chronic pain and the circumstances you’re in. We aim to provide information to help people struggling with chronic pain and addiction seek relief. Let's get started.


Correlation Between Chronic Pain and Substance Use DisorderCorrelation-Between-Chronic-Pain-and-Substance-Use-Disorder

Understanding the correlation between chronic pain and substance use disorder is vital to understand why medical professionals prescribe Suboxone for chronic pain.

Chronic pain is a major problem in the United States. According to 2018 Healthline research, around 20% of adults in the U.S. live with chronic pain. In addition, more than 50 million people suffer from arthritis, lower back pain, migraines, and more.

It is a significant portion of the population. So it’s not surprising that chronic pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor.

Chronic pain is any pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. It can be caused by different things, including injuries, illnesses, and conditions like arthritis, endometriosis, and fibromyalgia. It can also be the result of previous trauma or medical surgery.

The pain that patients experience can vary significantly in intensity and frequency. It can range from mildly annoying to debilitating. For some, it might be a dull ache that comes and goes. For others, it might be a constant, searing pain that makes it difficult to live a normal life. There's no doubt that chronic pain takes a toll on anyone both physically and mentally over time.

As a result, chronic pain patients turn to medication for relief. WHO recommends pain medication as the first line of defense against chronic pain, but the type of medication depends on the severity of the pain.

For mild pain, over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen might be enough. However, prescription medication like opioids might be necessary for moderate to severe pain. It includes codeine, morphine, and oxycodone, derived from the opium poppy plant. Unfortunately, that is where the problem starts for many people.

While opioids effectively treat chronic pain, they also pose a high risk of addiction and overdose. In 2020, the National Institute of Drug Abuse reported more than 68,000 deaths from opioid overdose in the U.S.

The over-prescription of opioids is a major contributing factor to the opioid epidemic in the United States. Doctors often prescribe opioids for chronic pain without making patients aware of the risks. As a result, they become addicted and start using more and more of the drug to get the same pain-relieving effect and the euphoria that comes with it.

In other cases, patients might start taking opioids for legitimate pain relief but develop an addiction over time. Again, it is because opioids are highly addictive substances. Once someone is addicted, it's challenging to stop using them without professional help.

Here is where Suboxone comes in as a treatment option for opioids and chronic pain.

How Does Suboxone for Pain Work?How-Does-Suboxone-for-Pain-Work?

To better understand how Suboxone works for pain, it's essential first to understand how opioids work and their effects on our body.

Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. This action blocks pain signals from being sent to the brain (thus providing pain relief) and also causes the release of dopamine, which leads to feelings of euphoria. It is the kind of high people experience when taking opioids.

Suboxone is a medication that contains buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist which binds to the same receptors in the brain as opioids do. However, buprenorphine only partially activates those receptors. As a result, it produces a weaker effect than opioids, but it's also less likely to cause the same level of euphoria and addiction.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which blocks the effects of opioids. It's used in Suboxone to prevent people from abusing the buprenorphine in the medication.

So how does Suboxone work for pain? Because it contains buprenorphine, it can help block pain signals from being sent to the brain. It's also less likely to cause addiction and euphoria because of the naloxone in the medication.

Because of this, Suboxone has become an off-label treatment option for chronic pain. Off-label means that a medication is being used for a purpose that the FDA does not officially approve.

Is Suboxone FDA-Approved for Pain?Is-Suboxone-FDA-Approved-for-Pain

Suboxone is not FDA-approved for pain specifically. However, it is approved in the United States for the treatment of opioid addiction and used in Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs. MAT is a type of treatment that combines medication with therapy and counseling to treat addiction. It's considered the most effective way to treat addiction and is often used in conjunction with other types of treatment like 12-step programs.

On the other hand, one of the main ingredients of Suboxone, buprenorphine, is FDA-approved for treating pain as a single medication.

Does Buprenorphine Treat Chronic Pain?Does-Buprenorphine-Treat-Chronic-Pain

Buprenorphine has been a medication used to treat chronic pain and opioid addiction for many years. It was patented in 1965 and approved for use in the United States in 1981.

Buprenorphine comes in different forms, including a transdermal patch for treating moderate to severe types of chronic pain. The patch is applied to the skin and releases buprenorphine into the body over a period. 

Buprenorphine is also available as a buccal and sublingual film, placed under the tongue or inside the cheek. These films dissolve and release buprenorphine into the body to treat unresponsive chronic pain.

Buprenorphine is also available as an injection to treat extreme levels of pain. However, it's rarely used since it has to be given by a healthcare professional due to its potentially addictive nature.

The FDA does not recommend buprenorphine to treat acute pain or pain that's only temporary (lasting only up to three months).

Can You Get Suboxone for Chronic Pain Treatment?Can-You-Get-Suboxone-for-Chronic-Pain-Treatment

Based on the information above, it's clear that Suboxone can be an effective treatment option for chronic pain. However, it's essential to remember that Suboxone is not FDA-approved for this specific purpose.

Suboxone is only approved for treating opioid addiction and should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional. If you're interested in using Suboxone for chronic pain treatment, speak to your doctor about whether it's right for you.

The best case scenario for using Suboxone for chronic pain is if you're someone being treated for opioid addiction with Suboxone and struggling with chronic pain. In this case, your doctor may be able to increase your Suboxone dosage to help with both conditions.

However, it's important to remember that Suboxone is a potent medication and should only be used if other treatment options have failed. Additionally, Suboxone should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional to ensure that it's being used safely and effectively.

Who Should Not Use Suboxone for Pain?

Suboxone is not recommended for everyone. There are certain groups of people who should not use Suboxone, including:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women (Although studies say it is safe for pregnant women to use Suboxone, it's not recommended unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor about whether Suboxone is right for you)

  • People suffering from liver, kidney, or Addison's disease

  • Have respiratory issues or conditions that restrict their breathing (Buprenorphine might cause respiratory problems for people using benzodiazepines, alcohol, or those with lung disease)

  • Those with a history of mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or head injuries

  • Those with an enlarged prostate

  • Those having difficulty urinating

  • Alcoholics

  • People with adrenal or thyroid gland problems

Wrapping Up

There's a lot to consider when using Suboxone for pain. If you're struggling with chronic pain and are considering this treatment option, be sure to speak with your Suboxone doctor about the potential risks and benefits. And, as always, please remember that Suboxone is a powerful medication and should be used according to medical guidance provided by a licensed professional.

If you or someone you know is struggling with chronic pain and/or opioid use disorder, please don't hesitate to contact us for help. Our Suboxone doctors are here to help you get on the path to recovery. Visit our website to find a Suboxone doctor near you today.