What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a type of medication used to treat heroin and opioid addiction withdrawals and symptoms. Within Suboxone are two different forms of addiction recovery medications: buprenorphine and naloxone. Essentially, Suboxone is a branded version of buprenorphine.
Suboxone Insurance Coverage
Most insurance companies cover Suboxone clinic treatment. Some insurance companies that cover this treatment include: Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health Care, UMR, Multi Plan, and Beacon.
Due to Suboxone having little potential for abuse, doctors can prescribe it outside of clinic-based treatment centers. If you are enrolled in a Suboxone treatment center, you can take home a month’s worth of Suboxone at one time.
If your insurance does not cover your Suboxone treatment, there are treatment programs that offer payment assistance. For example, some insurance companies offer sliding scale payment plans. With a sliding scale payment plan, the charge for your treatment is based on your income. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that 856 of 2,789 buprenorphine-based substance abuse treatment centers have sliding scale payment plans in place.
To learn more about Suboxone and Suboxone clinics, you must first learn about medication-assisted treatment in general and the different forms of this type of treatment.
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is addiction recovery treatment that combines medication with therapy to help those suffering from addiction better cope with their withdrawal symptoms and drug and alcohol cravings. By utilizing both medication and therapy, MAT programs treat every aspect of the human, from their mind and body to their soul and emotions.
Ultimately, the medicinal part of MAT programs decreases the risk of relapse and increases the chances of maintained sobriety within addiction recovery patients.
Medications Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. A partial opioid agonist is a medication that activates the opioid receptors in the brain in a manner that is far less intense than opioids themselves. Partial opioid agonists like buprenorphine are used to help treat heroin addiction and opioid use disorder.
As a partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine gives just enough opioid stimulant to addiction recovery patients to help them cope with their cravings and withdrawals. At the same time, they’re still forcing their brains to break free from dependence on the high-level stimulant of the drug itself to function.
Think of partial opioid agonists as being similar to vaccines. Vaccines are a weaker version of a disease given to help human bodies build immunity from the particular disease of which the vaccine is an agent. Similarly, buprenorphine is a weaker version of the opioid drug given to opioid addicts to help wean them off substances in a conducive manner.
Buprenorphine is the first and only opioid addiction medication that a doctor can prescribe and give out directly out of his or her office. Other medications used to treat opioid addiction can only be prescribed to people within clinics.
It is important to only take your prescribed amount of buprenorphine. This is because buprenorphine’s ability to provide opioid effects can lead some to abuse the drug and develop an unhealthy dependence on it.
Some side effects of buprenorphine include:
- Muscle aches
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which blocks opioid activity at receptor sites. This medication is given to heroin and opioid addiction recovery patients who are experiencing an overdose through an injection. In the case of an opioid overdose, there are even automatic naloxone injections with voice control to help non-medical professionals perform them properly.
When combined with buprenorphine, naloxone makes up Suboxone. Since naloxone blocks opioid activity, when combined with buprenorphine in the form of Suboxone, it decreases the chances that people abuse both Suboxone and naloxone. However, naloxone’s ability to block opioid activity at receptor sites can also trigger withdrawal symptoms in those still taking an opioid. These withdrawal symptoms include wild mood swings, irritability, agitation, insomnia nausea, vomiting, muscle cramping, and diarrhea.
An individual who is still on full opioid agonists like heroin can even experience seizures and respiratory failure if they carelessly take naloxone by itself. Due to the dangers of an addiction recovery patient taking naloxone by themselves, naloxone is always combined with buprenorphine in the form of Suboxone.
Medical professionals can use naltrexone to treat opioid and alcohol addiction recovery patients.
Naltrexone comes in the form of either a pill or an injection.
The name of the injectable version of naltrexone is Vivitrol. Vivitrol is injected into the muscles of those suffering from opioid and/or alcohol addiction.
Vivitrol insurance coverage and health plans are usually in the form of a medical or pharmacy benefit. If your insurance covers vivitrol under your health plan, your health plan may allow a network pharmacy to ship your Vivitrol to your insurance provider’s office and then bill your health plan on your insurance provider’s behalf. If your Vivitrol insurance coverage is through the medical benefit, your healthcare provider can buy units of Vivitrol from a specialty distributor and then bill your insurance.
Since Vivitrol is injected into the muscle, you or your doctor only need to administer it once a month. When naltrexone is in the form of a pill, you must take it once a day. If you are receiving naltrexone in the injectable form of Vivitrol, call your doctor if you experience intense pain, hardness, lumps, blisters, swelling, dark scabbing, or wounds around your injection site.
Like naloxone, naltrexone blocks opioid activity at receptor sites. Therefore, you will not be able to get high on naltrexone. While minimizing the high feeling one can get on alcohol and drugs, naltrexone also decreases opioid tolerance. As a result, relapsing after taking naltrexone can lead to an overdose.
Taking an excessive amount of naltrexone can also lead to severe liver damage. Side effects of naltrexone include:
- Muscle and joint pain
Probuphine is the first FDA-approved buprenorphine implant. Like naltrexone, medical professionals use probuphine to help those suffering from heroin and opioid addiction cope with their cravings and withdrawals without giving off a high sensation.
The probuphine implant consists four rods that go into your upper arm. These rods pump a continual stream of buprenorphine in the body for six months. If you’re stable and on low to moderate doses of buprenorphine, your doctor can prescribe you probuphine. You should not take probuphine for more than two six-month treatment periods.
Since methadone is a full opioid agonist, its effects are similar to that of opioids. The difference between the effects of methadone and heroin and actual opioids is the fact that methadone is longer-acting than heroin and opioids, thus causing the effects to become milder despite the medication’s strength.
Those suffering from addiction use methadone to reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that come with getting off heroin and painkillers. Methadone is so strong that just one methadone pill can prevent opioid cravings and withdrawals for a day and a half. Because of methadone’s strength, doctors can only administer it in clinics on a set schedule.
Make sure to talk to your doctor before you get off methadone, as getting off methadone before you are ready can lead to methadone withdrawal symptoms.
Common and mild side effects of methadone include dry mouth, headache, sweating, insomnia, stomach pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, reduced sex drive, and mood changes. Serious side effects of methadone that you should seek immediate help for include:
- Face swelling
- Breathing problems
- Severe drowsiness
Disulfiram is a medication used in MAT to help curb drinking in people suffering from alcohol addiction. It does this by making you experience negative effects 10 to 30 minutes after you drink alcohol. These can include sweating, flushing, blurred vision, weakness, heart palpitations, vertigo, confusion, tachycardia, anxiety, headache, chest pain, vomiting, and sweating. The negative effects tend to last for about an hour.
Like disulfiram, acamprosate is a medication used in MAT to help mitigate alcohol cravings in patients. Because extensive alcohol abuse creates changes within the neurotransmitter systems of the brain, the brain of an alcoholic starts to need alcohol to be in equilibrium. As a result, the brain becomes imbalanced and over-excited when an individual stops drinking.
Acamprosate helps normalize the balance of hyper-excitatory and inhibitory neuronal activity in the brain of alcoholics by decreasing their post-acute withdrawal symptoms. These go beyond the initial withdrawal symptoms and include restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, and dysphoria.
Mild and temporary side effects of acamprosate include headaches, dizziness, muscle weakness, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and itchiness. Serious side effects of acamprosate that you should alert your physician about include depression and suicidal thoughts.
Does the Liver Metabolize Acamprosate?
Acamprosate does not have negative effects when taken with alcohol, nor can it be abused. It’s a good alcohol addiction recovery medication for those suffering from liver damage. This is because the liver does not metabolize acamprosate. This means that taking acamprosate will lead to no further hepatic complications.
Now that you know everything about all the key MATs, it is time to circle back and discuss the Suboxone clinics that accept coverage.
We Are Here to Help
As stressful as finding Suboxone clinics that accept insurance can be, we here at Phoenix Rising are always ready to make it a little bit easier on you by accepting numerous different forms of insurance.
Check with us to verify your insurance and discover what treatment options your insurance covers.
Contact us to learn about our substance abuse treatment programs and addiction counseling services.