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Effects of subutex

Warning Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Subutex Abuse

Subutex is an opioid drug used for the treatment of narcotic addiction. It is also used as an opioid analgesic for long-term management of pain. It directly binds to the opioid receptors to inhibit the effects of other drugs like heroin or morphine. As the drug alters the chemistry of the brain, it can build tolerance which eventually develops into addiction. The drug can interact with narcotics, tranquilizers and sedatives so it is important to consider drug interactions before taking it in combination with any other substance.

Signs and Symptoms of Subutex Abuse:

Subutex is commonly abused by snorting and injecting it directly into the blood. The various signs and symptoms produced by Subutex Abuse are listed below:

Physical Signs and Symptoms:

  • Analgesia
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Yellowing of eyes and skin
  • Nose bleeds
  • Small pupils
  • Respiratory depression
  • Slurred speech
  • Constipation
  • Hypotension
  • Urinary retention
  • Poor judgment
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Psychological signs and symptoms:

  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

Behavioral signs and symptoms:

  • Neglecting the hobbies
  • Inability to fulfill the obligations
  • Loss of interest in the recreational activities
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Changes in the sleep pattern
  • Social isolation
  • Relationship issues
  • Legal issues

Side Effects of Subutex Abuse:

The side effects produced by Subutex are relatively mild in comparison to other opioid drugs. But it has the potential to cause serious side effects if consumed in large, frequent doses. It produces the same effects on the body as other opioids, so abuse of it can yield similar adverse effects.  It is administered under the proper monitoring and control system for the treatment of opioid dependence, but taking the improper doses can lead to several side effects.

Common side effects:

  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Rhinitis
  • Back pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia

Other Side Effects:

  • Hives
  • Blurred vision
  • Swallowing Problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetitive
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Severe pain in the stomach
  • Jaundice
  • Coma

Health Effects of Subutex: Short Term and Long Term

Subutex is reserved for the treatment of dependence and addiction. It is a quite useful medicine that has made the process of recovery easier for several opioid addicts. Taking the drug in prescribed doses for a shorter duration actually helps the addict to fight the drug cravings of stronger opioids. However, abuse or misuse of Subutex can cause many harmful effects to the mind and body.

Short-term effects of Subutex:

  • Reduced cravings of other opioids
  • Decreased intensity of withdrawal symptoms
  • Lower the risks of overdose
  • Block the effects of other opioids
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Decreased pain sensations
  • Mental relaxation
  • Slowed breathing

Long term effects:

  • Hepatic failure
  • Respiratory depression
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Respiratory depression
  • Hypersensitivity reactions

Subutex Overdose:

The prescribed doses of Subutex are the safe doses that don’t cause adverse effects or overdose. Like the other opioid overdoses, a very dangerous outcome of Subutex overdose is respiratory depression. Taking Subutex with other drugs like sedatives, tranquilizers or alcohol increases the chance of overdose. All the reported cases so far were due to mixing Subutex with the other drugs. Overdose can even be fatal if the patient is left unattended. The following signs and symptoms of overdose are produced in the patient:

  • Weakness
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Fainting
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Weak pulse
  • Bradycardia
  • Depressed breathing

Treating the Buprenorphine overdose can be very difficult as there is no specific antidote for the drug. Naloxone hydrochloride can be helpful in the higher doses. For the severe respiratory depression, Doxapram is used to stimulate the respiratory center. The opioid overdoses are managed with Buprenorphine but none of those narcotics can be used for the treatment of Buprenorphine overdose.  The general management of Subutex overdose is similar to other opioids, which include securing the airways, maintenance of blood pressure, monitoring of heart rate and pulse and correction of electrolyte imbalances. An immediate treatment is required as the person can go into a state of permanent brain damage and coma.

Planning an intervention for Subutex problem:

Intervention is a rehearsed and planned meeting with a purpose of persuading someone to receive help for the substance abuse. The relatives, friends, employers, and the coworkers are invited to attend the meeting. All the participations talk about the effects of person’s addiction on their work or relationships. A treatment contract is presented to the individual. There are several stages that the addict undergoes before he finally agrees to have an intervention to change the habit. In the pre-contemplation stage, the person knows about the problem but isn’t ready to do anything about it. In the next stage, the person begins to think about getting help in the future. Then he becomes determined to take some positive steps to resolve the problem. The fourth stage is of action, where the individual takes some positive steps towards the recovery.

There are many models of intervention that can be applied. Generally, it has been suggested that there should be an intervention specialist as the addicts are mostly in stage one or two and they can easily become violent, aggressive or even suicidal. To have an effective intervention, it is advantageous to have the therapist in the team because the behavior of addict can be very unpredictive and self-destructive.