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Suboxone Dosage and Standards for Use

white pill in hand

When you enter medication-assisted treatment (MAT), your doctor may recommend methadone or a form of buprenorphine like Suboxone. These medications have different standards for dosing. Since patients take methadone in a clinic, it has stricter dosing guidelines than buprenorphine.

As a buprenorphine-based medicine, Suboxone treatment involves prescriptions that the patient fills at a pharmacy. Because of its use as a prescription medication, Suboxone has fewer dosing specifics than methadone. This guide will overview the existing Suboxone dosing standards and how they help patients.

Suboxone Dosing Standards

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) determines Suboxone dosing guidelines for opioid use disorder treatment centers. Each company that makes buprenorphine medication has its own dosing standards. However, SAMHSA’s guidelines have the ultimate authority on the right dosage for different patients.

SAMHSA now allows MAT centers to write prescriptions for Suboxone. In the past, they required patients to get treatment for a year before receiving a buprenorphine medication. They then removed that requirement and made it so that doctors should have a DATA 2000 certification before prescribing. Now, SAMHSA doesn’t ask for the DATA 2000 requirements, but many prescribers have it. This standard gives doctors the knowledge to provide effective Suboxone treatment.

How Much Suboxone Should a Patient Take?

If you and your doctor decide to pursue Suboxone MAT, you’ll take a small amount at first. Most patients take 4mg or 8mg for their first dose and receive a doctor’s supervision. As a new patient, you’ll return to your clinic in a few days to determine your dose’s effectiveness. The doctor will then adjust the amount or ask you to come back again after more time with your current dose.

Most patients stop receiving an increase in dosage when they take a moderate amount of Suboxone. Buprenorphine medications have a “ceiling effect” where they lose effectiveness at a certain dose, giving each patient an upper limit. In most cases, the patient and doctor stop at a dose between 8mg and 20mg. Very few patients need to take an amount of Suboxone higher than 24mg.

The Side Effects of Suboxone

Suboxone can cause a variety of side effects. With proper care and a doctor’s supervision, a patient can manage most of these side effects, which include:

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Muscle cramps and aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Distress

If you have difficulty breathing, get immediate medical help — this issue could indicate an overdose.

Care Coordination as Part of a Successful Suboxone Treatment

During MAT, coordinating your care among your medical providers will offer the best results. Different medications can conflict with one another and cause side effects or complications. However, when all of your doctors understand your medical history and medicines, you can get the most out of your treatment. Remember to tell your providers about any side effects you experience when taking Suboxone.

Start Suboxone Treatment at BAART Programs

If you want to start MAT with Suboxone, we can help. Contact our team online or call us at 844-344-4040 to schedule your first appointment at a clinic near you.

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