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Is Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) addictive?

To understand the answer to this question one must understand the difference between addiction and dependence.  It is certainly true that people are dependent on suboxone, especially if using it to treat addiction.  That is because addiction to opioids results in dependence.  If you don't take the suboxone for a day or two you will get withdrawals symptoms, as most people know.  That is what dependency means:  your physiology depends on the maintenance of fairly steady levels of suboxone to function normally, and without it you experience unpleasant symptoms reflecting the physiological imbalances resulting from absence of the drug.  Compare with caffeine, for example.  If you are accustomed to drinking a cup of coffee every morning, then you will feel sluggish and unfocused if you have to do without.  Contrast that with what would happen if you become addicted:  then you would always be focused on your next cup of coffee, and your day would become nothing more than the pursuit of that next cup.  Of course, that is something that would never happen.  Another, perhaps better example, because it really does happen, and that is gambling addiction.  Of course, your physiology never becomes dependent on gambling, but unfortunately many people become addicted to it, and people will spend their bank accounts dry to get the next "fix".

Now consider buprenorphine.  As noted, one becomes dependent physiologically on its presence, but the behavioral changes leading to obsessive focus on the drug, taking over your life, does not happen.  People take a steady dose, and many eventually cut the dose down overtime to reduce their dependence.

The reasons for this are not fully understood (what is?) but probably have to do with suboxone's limited effects on opioids receptors, along with its interactions with other less well characterized receptors in the brain.  So experience shows that addiction to suboxone is not a problem, though dependence clearly does happen.

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What is Suboxone

Note Suboxone is one of several brand names for buprenorphine/naloxone combinations, like Zubsolve, Subutex, etc.

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