Subutex (Buprenorphine) For Opioid Abuse Treatment

Subutex can be used to treat opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms, but it won't be right for every recovery journey.

Get Help Now!

Subutex, a medication containing the active ingredient buprenorphine, may be used in the treatment of opioid use disorder as part of medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

When used in conjunction with counseling and behavioral therapies, this medication can help people work toward recovery.

What Is Subutex?

Subutex is a medication used in the treatment of opioid dependence, particularly for people addicted to opioids such as heroin or prescription pain medications.

The active ingredient in Subutex is buprenorphine, which is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it binds to the same receptors in the brain as opioids but produces a milder effect.

This can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid dependence.

Unlike Suboxone, which is another addiction medicine used in MAT, Subutex does not contain naloxone, the opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids.

For this reason, the drug Subutex does not include formulations to deter misuse.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based approach to the treatment of substance use disorders involving opioids.

MAT combines the use of medications with counseling and behavioral therapies to address both the physiological and psychological aspects of addiction.

The primary goals of MAT are to reduce cravings, prevent withdrawal symptoms, and support people in their journey toward recovery.

Subutex can be used as part of a person’s medication-assisted treatment plan.

How Does Subutex Support Addiction Recovery?

Buprenorphine treatment supports addiction intervention and reduces opioid overdoses and overdose deaths primarily through its role in medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Subutex is not used for other substance abuse treatments, such as alcohol use or misuse. It is intended specifically for the treatment of opioid addiction.

Reduction Of Cravings And Withdrawal Symptoms

Subutex, containing the partial opioid agonist buprenorphine, binds to the same receptors in the brain as opioids but produces a milder effect.

This helps decrease cravings and lessens withdrawal symptoms, making it more manageable for people to stop using illicit opioids.


Subutex helps stabilize clients during detoxification and early treatment, reducing the mental and physical fluctuations that often accompany opioid addiction.

Induction And Early Recovery Aid

Subutex is often used during the induction phase of MAT when people are transitioning from active opioid use to maintenance treatment.

It helps people by minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal and supporting the early stages of recovery.

Prevention Of Illicit Opioid Use

By occupying opioid receptors in the brain, Subutex reduces the effects of other opioids.

This can discourage people from using opioids, as the effects would be diminished or blocked by the buprenorphine in Subutex.

Minimization Of Craving-Driven Relapse

Cravings are a common trigger for relapse in people with opioid use disorder.

Subutex helps minimize cravings, reducing the likelihood of relapse and providing people with the stability needed to engage in other aspects of their treatment plan.

Subutex Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

We use Subutex at Bedrock Recovery Center when needed to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, helping people focus on other aspects of their recovery.

What Substance Use Disorders Is Subutex Used For?

Subutex is primarily used for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Opioid use disorder involves the problematic use of opioids, leading to dependence.

Subutex, as part of an opioid treatment program, can be prescribed to help people manage their opioid dependence and support their journey toward recovery.

When Is Subutex Prescribed At Bedrock?

At Bedrock, people with opioid addiction may receive a prescription for Subutex, especially during early recovery because of the drug’s ability to mildly stimulate the opioid receptors.

To an extent, Subutex acts as a bridge between illicit or prescription opioid use and sobriety, by providing a mild effect that significantly reduces the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms.

This medication is included as a component of an individualized treatment strategy, and is complemented by counseling, behavioral therapies, and additional support services.

Subutex is a pharmacological drug prescribed as part of an inpatient program, and is not usually given to outpatients.

How Long Does Subutex Treatment Last?

Subutex is often prescribed during the induction phase of medication-assisted treatment for drug use disorders.

This phase involves transitioning people from active opioid use to maintenance treatment, stabilizing them and minimizing withdrawal symptoms.

While some people may undergo a relatively short-term Subutex treatment as they progress through the initial stages of recovery, others might need longer-term maintenance.

Our providers work closely with people to assess their needs and decide on the appropriate duration of Subutex treatment in the context of their overall recovery.

What Are Common Side Effects Of Subutex Treatment?

Subutex can be associated with certain side effects. Not everyone will experience these side effects, and the severity and duration can vary from person to person.

Side effects of Subutex treatment may include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • constipation
  • sleep disturbances
  • sweating
  • mouth numbness or tingling
  • generalized pain

While some side effects are temporary and subside as the body adjusts to the medication, persistent or severe side effects can be addressed by a healthcare professional.

Our clinicians make adjustments to the treatment plan if needed to address side effects and optimize every person’s experience with Subutex.

Supportive Therapies For Subutex Treatment At Bedrock

At Bedrock Recovery Center, we use supportive therapies alongside medications like Subutex to address the many aspects of addiction.

Our supportive behavioral health therapies include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA)
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • family psychoeducation therapy
  • psychoeducation groups
  • group therapy
  • community-based support groups
  • meetings with individual case managers
  • aftercare planning and follow-up human services

We also offer specialized programing, including:

Many of the therapies at our Subutex clinic are covered by insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.

Subutex, when used in conjunction with different therapies, can help people decrease their drug abuse and support their journey toward recovery.

Ask About MAT For Addiction In Massachusetts

If you or a loved one is experiencing drug addiction in Massachusetts, our treatment program can help. Ask about our MAT for addiction treatment today.

  1. Cleveland Clinic
  2. Food And Drug Administration (FDA)
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  5. National Library of Medicine: PubMed
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: December 6, 2023

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.
(617) 657-2877
icon-angle icon-bars icon-times