Suboxone/Subutex, which is Buprenorphine, is a controlled schedule III opiate drug which is 20 to 30 times more powerful than morphine (see the letter from the FDA). It is a very common replacement opiate drug that most drug rehab centers across the United States and a few of the 6 rapid detox centers use to maintain an opiate addiction as part of their opiate detox treatment.
This drug causes dependence/addiction very quickly and once a patient is addicted to this drug it is very difficult to “just wean down and get off of it with mild withdrawal” as we have heard many people were told by a physician when they were prescribed this drug. Once a patient is on this drug and they consult with their physician that they want to stop the drug, it is very common that doctors will tell their patients “you will be on this drug the rest of your life” or “you need to stay on it for another year”, etc. Most physicians will not tell their patients the truth about the addictive nature of this drug leading them to believe it is a “MIRACLE DRUG” and is a cure for their opiate addiction when the truth is they are still addicted to an opiate that for most patients is far harder to detox from than a traditional opiate. Suboxone physicians are an advocate of this drug and the ability to have 100 patients at a time on it, with monthly visits ranging in price from $100 to $300 per month make monetary sense for doctors to prescribe this drug.
Even the pharmaceutical company claims the drug has mild withdrawal and is easier to come off of than a traditional opiate, yet the company claims they have never done any studies to determine that. Why is that?
RDD quotes below from the pharmaceutical Professional Prescribing Information for physicians, also known as the insert that comes with each bottle supplied from the company:
Buprenorhine is a partial agonist at the mu-opioid receptor and chronic administration produces dependence of the opioid type, characterized by moderate withdrawal upon abrupt discontinuation or rapid taper. The withdrawal syndrome is milder than seen with full agonists, and may be delayed in onset.
Reducing dosage and stopping treatment:
The decision to discontinue therapy from SUBOXONE or SUBUTEX after a period of maintenance or brief stabilization should be made as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Both gradual and abrupt discontinuation have been used, but no controlled trials have been undertaken to determine the best method of dose taper at the end of treatment.
For most “the end of treatment” never comes without suffering long lasting withdrawals or “does not come with “mild withdrawal” and again the patient is faced with yet another addiction which can be equally or even more difficult to detox from.
This is reminiscent of the sales tactic the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company used in the late 1800’s when they came up with the “miracle drug” for the cure for morphine addiction, which they named Heroin.