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Does Suboxone Make You Gain Weight

by Annabel Caldwell
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Does Suboxone Make You Gain Weight

Does Suboxone Make You Gain Weight

Weight gain or weight loss are not side effects that have been reported in studies of Suboxone. However, some people who take Suboxone have reported having weight gain.

Suboxone was approved by the FDA to treat opioid addiction back in 1996. It is a medication used as an oral drug replacement therapy for patients with severe opiate addiction and it is also sometimes used as an injectable treatment method if other methods fail. The popularity of this drug has grown over time and many people now use suboxone to help them through their recovery process.
Opioid Addiction
An estimated 17 million Americans live with substance abuse disorder. One type of substance abuse disorder is opioid addiction. Opioids include prescription painkillers like Vicodin (hydrocodone), Oxycontin (oxycodone) and Percocet (fentanyl). These drugs work on receptors in the brain called mu-opioid receptors. When these receptors are activated they send signals throughout your body causing things like increased heart rate, constricting blood vessels, increasing breathing, reducing inhibitions, and more. In order to counteract the negative effects caused by opioids, your body creates its own supply of opioids which is known as endorphins. Endorphins affect how we feel, think and function. They cause feelings of relaxation, happiness and contentment. Unfortunately when you become addicted to opioids, your body’s natural production of endorphins decreases and becomes less effective at managing the harmful physical and psychological effects associated with addiction. This results in what is referred to as withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be very painful and may occur during periods of abstinence from opiates such as cold turkey, tapering off doses, and detoxification.
Treatment Options For Opioid Addiction
There are several different types of treatments available for opioid addiction including psychosocial interventions; medications and behavioral therapies. Medications used to treat opioid addiction include methadone and buprenorphine. Methadone works by blocking mu-opioid receptors so that you don’t experience the euphoric highs and uncomfortable withdrawals experienced after using heroin or another powerful opioid. Buprenorphine blocks both mu-opioid receptors and delta-opioid receptors making it more effective than methadone at treating opioid addiction. Although there are no clinical trials proving that buprenorphine causes fewer overdoses than methadone, most experts agree that bupeprnofine is safer than methadone because it does not produce as high of blood pressure levels. Both methadone and buprenorphine must be carefully monitored by healthcare professionals while taking these substances.
Another option is naltrexone which prevents you from feeling any pleasure from alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs or opioids. Naltrexone does not block the same mu-opioid receptors as buprenorphine or methadone but instead works by preventing your body from receiving the chemical dopamine. Dopamine plays a key role in regulating our moods and behaviors. Your body produces dopamine naturally and once released into your bloodstream gives you feelings of reward, motivation and pleasure. People who are dependent on opioids release less dopamine compared to non-addicted individuals. Because of this, naltrexone helps reduce cravings for opioids and reduces overdose deaths since it keeps addicts from getting high. Naltrexone also reduces the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C infection and it may even lower your cholesterol level. Side effects of naltrexone include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, headaches, sweating, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness and changes in vision.
The brand name version of Suboxone is marketed under the trade names Subutex, Suberolucyllene, Depakote ER and generics. Suboxone is a combination pill containing two active ingredients – buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist that blocks mu-opioid receptors and naloxone is a full antagonist that binds to mu-opioid receptors. Buprenorphine is found in varying strengths depending upon the formulation. Commonly used strength ranges from 2 mg up to 24mg per dose. Naloxone comes in low dose forms ranging between 0.25 mg and 1 mg per dose.
Buprenorphine and naloxone together create a unique effect that stops the craving for addictive opioids without producing dangerous euphoria. When taken orally, naloxone quickly enters into the brain where it attaches itself to mu-opioid receptors. Once bound, naloxone prevents the attachment of other mu-opioid receptor ligands and therefore interrupts the transmission of messages within the nervous system that lead to addiction. Buprenorphine is then able to attach to the remaining free mu-receptors and stimulate normal neurological functions. Buprenorphine alone will not relieve all the signs and symptoms of withdrawal but it does make existing symptoms tolerable.
Since buprenorphine and naloxone combine to stop the craving for opioids, they should only be combined with counseling and support services to ensure long term success. Patients need to understand that buprenorphine and naloxone do not cure the underlying disease of opioid dependency but rather help manage the symptoms of withdrawal. Since buprenorphine and naloxone are considered to be Schedule III controlled substances, doctors will monitor patient progress and adjust dosages accordingly. If possible, doctors will prescribe maintenance doses of buprenorphine and naloxone that are above the manufacturer recommended daily maximums to prevent accidental overdosing.
Side Effects Of Suboxone
While Suboxone is generally safe to use, some people who use Suboxone may report experiencing side effects such as fatigue, nausea, headache, insomnia, decreased appetite, constipation, dry mouth, urinary tract infections and skin rashes. Some people also report gaining weight while using Suboxone. While rare, some people who use Suboxone have experienced serious conditions such as seizures and abnormal bleeding. Anyone who uses Suboxone should consult a medical professional immediately if they notice unexpected side effects.
Gaining And Losing Weight On Suboxone
Some people who use Suboxone have reported having weight gain or weight loss while using the medication. Most people who lose weight while using Suboxone attribute this change to eating healthier foods due to reduced hunger pangs and cravings for junk food. Others claim that Suboxone makes them feel fuller and increases energy levels. Still others say that they lost weight simply because they were exercising more frequently. Whatever the reason, losing or gaining weight while using Suboxone is pretty common among those who take the medication. There are many factors that could influence whether someone gains weight while using Suboxone. For example, if you are already obese before starting Suboxone, you may find yourself putting on extra pounds faster than someone who weighs the same amount prior to beginning treatment. Also, some people may put on additional weight based on how much they eat due to their new nutritional habits. Lastly, certain formulations of Suboxone may contain higher amounts of buprenorphine than others. Higher doses of buprenorphine may result in weight gain.
If you are concerned about gaining weight while using Suboxone, talk to your doctor first to see if he or she thinks it would be best for you to continue your treatment. Generally speaking though, weight gain is not a major concern for anyone who takes Suboxone. Those who do gain weight while using Suboxone usually do so gradually and return to normal weight fairly quickly. Regardless of what happens, always remember to stay healthy and get plenty of exercise!

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