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The National Alliance of Advocates
for Buprenorphine Treatment

Buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®3, Zubsolv®4, Bunavail™5, Probuphine®6) is an opioid medication used to treat opioid addiction in the privacy of a physician's office.1 Buprenorphine can be dispensed for take-home use, by prescription.1 This, in addition to the pharmacological and safety profile of buprenorphine, makes it an attractive treatment for patients addicted to opioids.2

Patient Stories

"I am grateful to God for Suboxone, and for leading me to a doctor who is truly qualified..."

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ocean imageMy name is Sheryl, I am a recovering addict. My DOC was hydrocodone, lots of it. My love affair with opiate painkillers began in the fall of 1997. I was married, to my 3rd husband, and little did I know that he had a problem controlling his temper. I had quit drinking just for him, I knew I was an alcoholic, but I never could quit just for me. Eight months into my marriage, I stopped and had a few drinks one day after work. I then went home and it didn't take very long for an argument to start between my husband and me. He hauled off and punched my in the face, breaking 4 bones in the right side of my face, and damaging the sinus wall. I didn't see a doctor for nearly a week, and when I did, he prescribed hydrocodone. I took one, felt sick at first, but was very glad to have pain relief. It only took a couple of weeks for me to realize that those pain pills made me feel real happy. I had battled depression for many years, trying several antidepressants with no relief. That may be because I was drinking a lot of booze with the antidepressants.

I left my husband a few months later, while my thirst for opiates greatly increased. The doctor also got me started on Valium® for my anxiety, and then I was really feeling no pain. And for the next couple of years, my lifestyle changed drastically. I went from being a responsible wife and mother to a reckless, promiscuous drunk, spending most of my time and all my money in bars. I lived to drink and pop pills. I entered rehab in March, 2000 for my alcoholism, and I am happy to say that I have remained booze-free ever since.

But those damn pills were another story. Another battle.

I found ways to get more and more, I doctor-shopped, I forged my prescriptions, and I ultimately found a connection on the streets. I never, ever thought, for a second, that I could end up buying Lortab® for $5 a pill on the street, going home with a different man every night and neglecting my sweet children. Two of the most wonderful kids on earth. But I did.

Until I met husband #4. We met at an NA meeting. At the time, I was in denial of my problem with the pills. I went there because AA meetings bored me. But I slowly began to realize that my life was pretty unmanageable. This man would become my hero. He was working a strong recovery program. Being clean and sober came before anything else in his life. But he did have room for me. I soon stopped using opiates. I did okay at first, but I did not stay clean for long. So I started going to the doctor again, and my addiction was again controlling my life. This is when I began lying to my partner. And stealing from him. I found ways to take money from him, I lied about my using, I kept going to meetings letting people think I was clean. I chaired many meetings, only if I was loaded, because that is how I had confidence in myself. And I was good at it, too.

The addiction just gets worse, in fact, it becomes potentially deadly. In November, 2003 I checked into drug rehab for 28 days. And I stayed clean for 11 months. The doctor I had in rehab put me on so many drugs, and I never felt normal. I eventually found a doctor who prescribed hydrocodone to treat depression. Oh how exciting that was! This doctor started me on 40mgs hydro daily, and increased my dosage to 50mgs in a very short time. I was getting prescriptions for 150 pills at a time! And I found ways to get more, by lying to my doctor, using every trick.

Finally, this doctor confronted me. He had grown suspicious; he wondered how I could be "losing" my pills so often. So, we decided to taper me off the drug. And I conceded that I was ready to do that. But, I could not taper. If I had a full bottle of pills, with instructions to take a conservative amount on a taper plan each day, I completely disregarded those instructions. Those pills wouldn't last 3 days.

So, I found an addiction doctor, he put me in rehab, and I soon began Suboxone® therapy. Only 2mgs at first, going all the way up to 36mgs within a week. I went home with a prescription for Suboxone and I cannot say enough that this medication is a miracle. It is my "magic bullet". I was very happy for several months; I had found a great new job. I was not having any cravings. And my marriage slowly began to improve. My children saw a different mom, and they like what they saw. But then, by Thanksgiving, the depression returned. By that time, I was taking 8mgs Suboxone daily, plus Prozac® and Wellbutrin® for depression. I am currently taking the same dosage of Suboxone and Wellbutrin, and we have ditched the Prozacin favor of Zoloft®.

I hate depression. And I fear it. I know depression was the core reason I became addicted in the first place. I have a new, healthy respect for my addiction; I cannot become complacent about my recovery. There was one time when I had to go a couple of days without Suboxone and the depression got much worse, not to mention withdrawal symptoms were beginning. I do know that Suboxone does ease my depressionsomewhat. But it's still not enough.

I am grateful to God for Suboxone, and for leading me to a doctor who is truly qualified, and interested, in helping me get well. I trust him completely and I am very happy that he trusts me, too. I had to earn that trust, also from my family. My husband's love for me just shines now, we are closer than ever. I just have to keep fighting the depression and anxiety. I feel it's holding me back from becoming everything I can be. I rarely leave the house, I panic when I do. I worry about something going wrong. I failed and lost so much during that period of time when I was so horribly hooked. I'm so afraid of losing again.

I love being sober, and I'll do anything to stay that way. I'll stay on Suboxone forever if I have to. Even with this depression, I do have a lot of hope that I will get well someday. And I'll be successful. And happy.

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The Purpose of Buprenorphine Treatment:

To suppress the debilitating symptoms of cravings and withdrawal, enabling the patient to engage in therapy, counseling and support, so they can implement positive long-term changes in their lives which develops into the new healthy patterns of behavior necessary to achieve sustained addiction remission. - explain -

The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment is a non-profit organization charged with the mission to:

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Talk Paper, T0238, October 8, 2002, Subutex and Suboxone approved to treat opiate dependence.
  2. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 40. DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 04-3939. Rockville, Md: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2004.
  3. Subutex Discontinued in the US market in late 2011.
  4. Zubsolv (bup/nx sublingual tablet) FDA approved 7/3/2013 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic -in pharmacies now.
  5. Bunavail (bup/nx bucal film) FDA approved 6/6/2014 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic -in pharmacies now.
  6. Probuphine FDA approved 5/26/2016 - FDA Probuphine press release