What to Expect When Beginning Outpatient Suboxone® Treatment

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September 26, 2019


You took the first brave step toward taking back control of your life. Not everyone is able to summon their courage, ask for help and take action to get on their path to recovery. While there are many recovery programs available for those misusing opioids, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has proven to be the most effective.

At our various locations, the compassionate and experienced staff members at AppleGate Recovery are here to make sure all of your questions are answered and you will remain in capable hands throughout your recovery. AppleGate’s caring medical providers ensure success in recovery through medications, such as Suboxone®, designed to block receptor sites and effectively reduce cravings. Knowing what to expect will allow you to set goals for yourself to help achieve long-lasting recovery.

From First Appointment to First Dose

When you arrive at the clinic after abstaining for up to two days, you will feel moderate symptoms of withdrawal as it is necessary to stop using any opioids 16-48 hours before your first dose of medication. While unpleasant, this is a necessary part of the evaluation, and your withdrawal symptoms will be assessed by staff to ensure the medication performs effectively. At your first appointment you’ll discuss your MAT options with your provider at AppleGate Recovery and determine that Suboxone® is the right medication for you. You’ll share information about your physical health and be asked to participate in lab tests to give an overview of your internal health. Any use of opioids prior to the visit should be reported in order to adjust your treatment accordingly.

After taking your first dose of Suboxone®, you will begin to feel better within 30 to 45 minutes. Sometimes your provider will adjust your dosage on your first day, prescribing additional doses if the initial one was not sufficient. Through this time, you must communicate with staff about how you are feeling to gauge if more medication will be needed. The first couple of days will require some patience as your provider may continue to adjust your dosage based on how you are reacting to the medication.

Follow-ups and Counseling

Upon your initial dose and any adjustments, you will be written a prescription for Suboxone® medication that you can fill at a pharmacy. Your follow-up appointments will be great times to discuss how the medication is performing. Refill for prescriptions are given during these appointments, along with a drug test required to continue the treatment program, for your safety. Please remember to bring your medication with you to your appointments, to help the staff keep you on track in your recovery.

As you work through the beginning phases of your treatment, you will begin communicating with your provider about any triggers or cravings you experience. Working with a substance use counselor will allow you to create goals as you become more confident and stronger during your recovery process. The counseling will be non-judgmental. Significant support will be provided to help you address your emotional pain and behaviors which contributed to your opioid addiction. This substance use counseling is just as vital as Suboxone® in your work to achieve recovery.

By being enrolled in MAT you will have your own timeline and differing goals than others in the AppleGate program. Achieving medication maintenance is something you can discuss with your provider if you both feel that you have been sticking to your treatment continually and for a long enough time. However, since you are at the beginning of your journey, the primary focus is to initiate your MAT properly and bravely move forward toward that happier and healthier you want in your future.

Contributor: Kevin R. Foley, M.Ed., LPCC, LICDC