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What is the difference between suboxone and subutex

Are you struggling with an opiate addiction? Perhaps suboxone and subutex can help you on your journey to sobriety. One way you could think of this method is that doctors are basically fighting your drug addiction, with other drugs. Both drugs (suboxone and subutex) are used to treat opiate addiction by taking away the opiate’s “grip” on the brain and they also can help you stop your drug abuse. Suboxone and subutex are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help opiate abusers regain a sober lifestyle. By taking either suboxone or subutex, recovering individuals will not have withdrawal symptoms or cravings. But, the drugs must be taken as prescribed in order to achieve the desired effects. Both drugs share a similarity and they also have one main difference.

The Similarity

Both suboxone and subutex contain buprenorphine. Medically speaking, buprenorphine is an “opioid partial agonist.” Translation: buprenorphine interacts with the same receptors in the brain that affect other drugs (like heroin), but it fools the brain into thinking that it is taking an opiate, when in reality you are not. This is why you do not experience withdrawal symptoms or even cravings. In contrast, heroin is a “full agonist” drug and can create intense highs. Partial agonist drugs are much more difficult to become addicted to and do not create a high when used properly.

Buprenorphine works by being a “sticky” agent to your brain’s receptors. Just like many other substances, abuse of an opiate changes how your brain functions and also its physical characteristics. For non-opioid abusers, there are a set amount of opioid receptors in the brain. When a person abuses an opioid, such as heroin, the drug is able to attach itself onto their opioid receptors, and they are able to receive a high. The high creates euphoria, and the user wants to repeat that feeling again and again.

Over time, however, a person builds up tolerance to the drug. During this time when tolerance is built up, the opioid receptors in the brain increase, which causes the user to seek out more of the drug to achieve more of a high. The original dosage of the opiate they took is no longer effective because they have increased their number of opioid receptors.

Taking the same amount of the drug only fills up some of the receptors, so they seek more of the drug so all receptors can be full and satisfied. Increased levels of opiate receptors, means that the normal levels of brain chemicals can’t function (fully activate the receptors), so more of the drug is sought out. Inactivated opioid receptors are craving the drug and if left inactivated this leads to withdrawal symptoms. This is why a person abusing a drug must constantly seek out a high or they will feel sick or begin to experience withdrawal.

As mentioned before, buprenorphine is a “sticky” agent. When taken properly, the buprenorphine sticks to the increased opioid receptors. It shoves the opioid out of the way and sticks or binds to all the receptors, but without the feelings of a high. If heroin and buprenorphine are taken at the same time, buprenorphine pushes the opioid away from the brain’s receptors, and fills all of the receptors. Buprenorphine fills the receptors up and prevents withdrawal, but it is not strong enough to get the person high and will not let them experience euphoria.

The Difference

The main difference between suboxone and subutex is that one of the two also has naloxone and the other doesn’t contain that substance at all. Subutex only contains buprenorphine while suboxone contains both buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is mixed with the buprenorphine to prevent misuse. An example of this would be that if you were currently high on heroin, taking naloxone intravenously would almost immediately cause a person to tumble into withdrawal symptoms.

Buprenorphine, as mentioned before, fills the receptors of the brain and activates them. Naloxone, on the other hand, is an opiate antagonist. Like buprenorphine, it fills the receptors of the brain (and also blocks other opiates from filling the brain’s receptors), but it does not activate the opiate receptors. Full but inactivated opiate receptors mean that the abuser will feel the pains of withdrawal very quickly.

Taking Subutex vs. Taking Suboxone

By now you might be thinking that taking suboxone sounds horrible and you would definitely pick subutex over the other drug. But in reality, there is no functional difference between the two drugs (unless you abuse suboxone). Subutex may be prescribed for the first few doses under a doctor’s care, but when you go home, a doctor will most likely prescribe suboxone to you.

The doctor will explain to you that suboxone must be dissolved underneath the tongue. By taking the pill this way, the tiny amount of naloxone will have no effect on you. In other words, it won’t hurt you and you won’t feel a thing if taken properly. By letting the pill dissolve under your tongue, the buprenorphine will go to your brain, and your withdrawal symptoms are relieved.

If you decide to abuse suboxone and inject it into your veins, that will be a bad choice because it fully activates the naloxone. After injection, the naloxone will hit you with full force and you will crash into withdrawal. If you think that you can take another opiate to reverse the effects of the naloxone, you are sadly mistaken. Once the naloxone has hit full force, you cannot get high even if you were to take more opiates.

Choosing to have a buprenorphine treatment to help your opiate addiction could be a good option for you, but talk to a doctor first. As long as you do not abuse suboxone to get high and use it as prescribed, you will get the same results and the medication will work just as well as if you were using subutex.

Take Control Of Your Life

Contact us today to get your life back.Abusing opiates and other substances is a serious situation and at any time it can cause serious complications or even death. Take control of your life today and seek help. If you have tried other methods of recovery, but are still struggling with an addiction, perhaps a treatment of either suboxone or subutex (under a doctor’s supervision) will help. But only do so under direct care of a doctor or other trusted professional. Talk to your doctor or contact us at for more information on seeking help for addiction. A drug addiction is not who you were meant to be, so don’t let it control your life. Contact us today to get your life back.