Monday November 24th 2014

Suboxone doctors

Which doctors can prescribe Suboxone?

In this country, it’s been illegal for doctors to prescribe opioids to treat opioid addiction, unless they do so in an opioid treatment center that has special permission from state and federal authorities. However, in 2000, a law was passed that allowed physicians to apply for a waiver, or special permission, to use FDA approved opioids such as Suboxone in the treatment of opioid addiction from their offices (Ex. Suboxone can now be prescribed as an oxycontin addiction medication by a certified doctor).

Only doctors who have a special DEA license can prescribe Suboxone . These doctors are assigned a special DEA number, called an “X” number, to be used only for Suboxone prescription written to treat opioid addiction.  Can Suboxone be abused?  Yes.  Suboxone is a Schedule III drug, meaning that the DEA rates the abuse and diversion potential for Suboxone relatively high.

Doctors who want to treat opioid addicts with medication have to prove that they have the knowledge and training to prescribe safely.  They have to take an eight hour training course about the nature of opioid addiction, the pharmacology of buprenorphine (the main ingredient in Suboxone), and how to prescribe it safely. Or, if the doctor is already certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, or the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatrists, they can be considered for an “X” number as well. Many Suboxone doctors are both certified by one of these organizations and took the eight hour course.

What does it cost to see a Suboxone doctor?

You’ll have to call the doctor’s offices for prices, since they vary widely depending on the area of the country, and what services are provided at the doctor’s office. For example, the initial visit may include a complete medical and drug history, a physical exam, and blood and urine tests. The doctor may want to start the medication in her office, or may allow you to start the medication at home. A session with a drug addiction counselor may be required as part of the visit. Depending on what services you get at the doctor’s office, prices run anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand. So when you call to get prices, be sure to ask what is included. Specifically, ask if it includes counseling and the Suboxone medication, or if both will additional expenses.

For now, it’s usually more expensive, at least initially, to be on buprenorphine (Suboxone) than to enter treatment at a methadone clinic. Hopefully that will change in the future, since buprenorphine is a safer drug than methadone, though it isn’t strong enough for every opioid addict.

How can I find a Suboxone doctor?

The best way is to look at the government’s website listing all buprenorphine (Suboxone) doctors.   The drug manufacturer of Suboxone, Reckitt Benckiser, also has a handy website at suboxone [dot] com.

Photo credit: Tulane publications

Leave a Reply

5 Responses to “Suboxone doctors
Dan
1:30 pm December 6th, 2011

Will Suboxone show up on a home drug test for opiates?

Dan
1:55 pm December 6th, 2011

Can you get the symptoms of being high by doing suboxone the way you are supposed to after now doing suboxone for a couple of months

4:25 pm December 8th, 2011

Hi Dan. Drug testing is frequently a mandatory part of Suboxone maintenance treatment, or could be ordered by your school or work. Most drug tests during Suboxone treatment are looking for other drugs of use and not for Suboxone. Which home tests are being used? A standard DOT 5-panel drug screen?

Generally, euphoric effect starts right away when you start taking a drug. Furthermore, euphoria, or feeling high, usually occurs when you misuse Suboxone (crushing, snorting, shooting) . But you say that you’re taking it as prescribed. If you suspect that euphoria is occurring as a result of Suboxone, talk with your prescribing doctor. Perhaps feeling high on Suboxone is a psycho-somatic reaction?

Adam
1:00 am September 10th, 2014

My psychiatrist does not have a “certificate” to prescribe Suboxone so I go to another psychiatrist in order to get it (they both know about each other and what I am doing). However, my Suboxone psychiatrist is weaning me off the medication but I don’t feel ready to be be weaned off of it yet. You see, I have OCD and Suboxone has been the best augmenting med that I have ever tried. I have been suffering for over 20 years now, and I’ve finally found something, in Suboxone, that significantly reduces my anxiety. Why the hell would I stop taking it?! What I want to know is would taking Buprenorphine basically be the same thing as taking Suboxone? And can my regular psychiatrist prescribe Buprenorphine to me? I have an appointment with him coming up, by I wanted to seek other opinions before seeing him.
Thank you, Adam

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
3:53 pm September 10th, 2014

Hi Adam. Thank you for sharing your experience and question. Basically, Suboxone is buprenorphine, but also has nalexone in it. However, the only reason why nalexone is put into the med is to stop addicts from injecting Suboxone. I hope this helps you out.

Leave a Reply

About Dr. Jana Burson, MD

Jana Burson M.D. is board-certified in Internal medicine, and certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. After practicing primary care for many years, she became interested in the treatment of addiction. For the last six years, her practice has focused exclusively on Addiction Medicine. She has written a book about prescription pain pill addiction: "Pain Pill Addiction: Prescription for Hope." Also see Dr. Burson's blog here.