In 2020, almost 92,000 people died from overdose-related deaths in the U.S. Opioid use disorder (OUD) has become a national crisis. For those looking to stop their opioid use, some medications can help with withdrawals and cravings. One of those medications is called buprenorphine (Suboxone®), and it’s preferred by many doctors over its counterpart, methadone.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) used to be a lot harder to get than it is today. Prior insurance approval was always needed, and not all doctors would prescribe it. Patients would turn to the internet or the streets to find this medication. Things are a little easier today. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and amendments to the Affordable Care Act have made buprenorphine (Suboxone®) easier to get. It no longer needs prior approval from your insurance company to be prescribed.
Even with insurance covering the cost of buprenorphine (Suboxone®) treatments, some patients still don’t know where to find the medication. At ReVIDA Recovery®, we know how important buprenorphine (Suboxone®) is for your recovery. This guide will provide knowledge on buprenorphine (Suboxone®), where to find it, and how you can get a prescription.
How Does Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Help with Opioid Use Disorder?
Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. buprenorphine is considered a narcotic and naloxone is an opioid blocker. The buprenorphine in buprenorphine (Suboxone®) works to lessen the withdrawal symptoms someone might have when coming off opioids. Naloxone helps to curb cravings and block the effects of opioids. It also works to prevent overdose of opioids.
Withdrawal symptoms are not pleasant. When someone stops using opioids, it takes their body a while to adjust to life without them. The body’s reaction to the absence of opioids is what we call withdrawal symptoms. If someone is going through withdrawal from opioids, they might experience the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal cramps
- Dilated pupils
- And more
These symptoms can make it difficult for a person to work, tend to their family, or function normally. Sometimes, the symptoms are so bad that the person experiencing them will return to opioids to find relief.
It’s dangerous for someone going through withdrawal to return to opioids. Because they’ve gone without the opioids, their tolerance has waned, making them more susceptible to overdose. All it takes is one dose that’s too high, and someone’s life is in danger. Signs of an opioid overdose include:
- Unresponsiveness or loss of consciousness
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Clammy skin
- Gurgling noises
- Discoloration in lips and fingernails
If you suspect you or someone you love is experiencing an overdose, it’s important to get immediate medical help. There are medications, like Narcan, that can safely guide someone out of this. If you’re worried about getting into trouble, there are laws that state you won’t be prosecuted if you’re helping a friend. Just do what you can to get help.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) helps by relieving the symptoms of withdrawal, curbing the cravings for opioids, and preventing overdose-related deaths. It’s never a good idea to stop taking opioids without the help of a medical professional. The risk of overdose paired with the withdrawal symptoms is dangerous.
Who Can Prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone®)?
Licensed clinicians, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, and primary care providers can all prescribe buprenorphine (Suboxone®). There are a few ways to legally obtain buprenorphine (Suboxone®):
- Through your primary care physician (PCP). If you trust your PCP and you feel comfortable asking, they can help. It didn’t used to be easy for PCPs to prescribe buprenorphine (Suboxone®), but a new federal rule change has made that possible. When asking your PCP for buprenorphine (Suboxone®), one thing to consider is whether or not that’s the right course of treatment for you. While buprenorphine (Suboxone®) can help you stop using opioids, you might need a higher level of care than what you can get through your PCP. Most people with OUD need other forms of treatment alongside their buprenorphine (Suboxone®) prescription. Your PCP will also not be able to monitor you as closely as a treatment facility or a hospital would. You’ll need to decide if this is the right course of action for your recovery.
- Through Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). MAT is a treatment option that includes regular monitoring while recovering. Most people who choose MAT visit their clinic 2-3 times weekly to be monitored by a licensed clinician. MAT also includes an element of talk therapy, whether it’s individual, therapy, or outpatient therapy. If you stick to your appointments and commit yourself to the process, MAT can be very successful in both easing your symptoms and helping you achieve a substance-free life. Participating in MAT also means getting support from others who have been in similar circumstances. MAT programs can be found in rehabilitation clinics or centers.
- Through a detox program. Detox programs are usually available in rehab facilities or hospitals. A detox program consists of 3-5 days of intensive monitoring and medication. While in a detox program, you’ll stay overnight at either the facility or the hospital. You’ll be closely monitored for intense symptoms or dysregulation. You’ll likely be prescribed buprenorphine (Suboxone®) during and after treatment to maintain your recovery. Detox programs are best for those who have been using opioids for a long time and need intensive help coming off of them.
- Through a telehealth treatment program. Telehealth providers are becoming more common, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. You don’t necessarily need to attend in-person appointments to receive buprenorphine (Suboxone®) treatments. To find a telehealth provider near you, search for availability in your state. Simply type “telehealth appointments for buprenorphine (Suboxone®) near me” to pull up a list of providers in your area. Telehealth may be a good option for those who’d like more independence in their recovery.
Is Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Expensive?
Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) can be prescribed in either a pill form or a film form. The cost of the pills is generally cheaper than the cost of films, so if you’re looking to save money, this might be a good option for you. How much you’ll end up paying for your prescriptions is usually up to your insurance company.
Most insurance companies, including Medicaid and Medicare, will cover the cost of buprenorphine (Suboxone®). Especially if your PCP deems it necessary. You may need to pay into your deductible, but they’ll cover the cost beyond that. If you don’t have insurance, you can still get buprenorphine (Suboxone®). Remember to ask for a generic prescription instead of the name brand. You can also find coupons to lower your cost at the counter. Many of these coupons can be found online through websites like GoodRx, but your doctor may also have ideas on how to lower your prescription costs. If you use a coupon for buprenorphine (Suboxone®), your price could be as low as $25 for 14 tablets of buprenorphine (Suboxone®). Remember that the films will cost more, closer to $40 for the same dosage. Your price may go up depending on what your dosage needs are and how often you’ll be using buprenorphine (Suboxone®).
There are also ways to get coupons or discounts on buprenorphine (Suboxone®) by purchasing them directly from the manufacturer. Some websites, like NiceRx, will work with you and your provider to achieve this. Speak to your PCP or prescribing clinician for more information.
How Long Will I Be On Buprenorphine (Suboxone®)?
How long you’ll be on buprenorphine (Suboxone®) depends on several factors, like how long you’ve been using opioids, what your treatment program looks like, and what you decide with your prescribing clinician. Some people will take buprenorphine (Suboxone®) for the first month after discontinuing their opioid use. Others may stay on buprenorphine (Suboxone®) for longer. This is something you can discuss with your prescribing physician.
At ReVIDA Recovery®, we want everyone to live a substance-free, healthy life. We know how difficult it is to stop using opioids, and we’re here to help. We’ve assembled a world-class team to help reclaim lives with long-lasting results. For Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) treatment options or a consultation, call us at (423) 631-0432.
FAQs About How to Get A Suboxone Prescription
Is it hard to get a prescription for buprenorphine (Suboxone®)?
Most providers have no problem prescribing buprenorphine (Suboxone®) for those looking to recover from OUD. You should be completely honest and upfront with your prescribing physician about your opioid use.
Can buprenorphine (Suboxone®) be prescribed via telemedicine?
Telehealth providers are becoming more common, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. You don’t necessarily need to attend in-person appointments to receive buprenorphine (Suboxone®) treatments. To find a telehealth provider near you, search for availability in your state. Simply type “telehealth appointments for buprenorphine (Suboxone®) near me” to pull up a list of providers in your area. There are also online treatment options through mental health websites where you can receive therapy and a buprenorphine (Suboxone®) prescription simultaneously. For some, telemedicine is a great option. For others, a deeper level of treatment may be required and in-person might be best.
Can any doctor write a script for buprenorphine (Suboxone®)?
As long as you’re receiving your prescription from a licensed clinician, primary care provider, nurse practitioner, or psychiatrist – yes. All doctors can prescribe buprenorphine (Suboxone®), and it’s quite common for it to be prescribed. It used to be difficult to obtain a buprenorphine (Suboxone®) prescription because you could only get it through certain kinds of doctors. Since 2021, the rules have changed. You could even ask your regular primary care physician to prescribe buprenorphine (Suboxone®). Just remember to consider your treatment options before moving forward. A simple prescription might not be right for you. You may need a treatment plan that includes talk therapy as well.
Can buprenorphine (Suboxone®) be called into a pharmacy?
Different states have different regulations surrounding this. For some states, yes, buprenorphine (Suboxone®) can be called into a pharmacy. In other states, you may need to physically bring a prescription into the pharmacy. You can find your state’s regulations by using a state opioid regulation guide.