How Does Suboxone® Work?

Every year, about 2 million Americans struggle with opioid misuse or addiction. Despite efforts to control opioid prescriptions, rates of misuse and addiction continue to rise. 

Opioid addiction is a chronic disease that requires long-term medical management including counseling, behavioral therapy, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Suboxone® is one of the medications doctors use to support opioid addiction recovery. 

At Orthopedic & Wellness in Frederick, Waldorf, and Germantown, Maryland, our team of pain management experts understand the physical, mental, emotional, and social effects of opioid misuse and addiction. 

In addition to providing interventional and alternative pain management treatments to help you gain control over your pain, we also offer Suboxone therapy to help prevent opioid misuse or addiction or to help you recover from it. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about Suboxone. Here, we explain how it works to help clear up some of the misinformation. 

The addictive power of opioids

To relieve pain, opioids bind to the opioid receptors found in your brain, spinal cord, and other areas of your body. This blocks the pain signal from reaching your brain and spinal cord.

In addition to blocking pain signals, opioids also trigger the release of chemicals that elicit feelings of pleasure and euphoria. When you take opioids for an extended period, your brain chemistry changes and develops a tolerance to the drug. This means you need to take more of the medication to get the same effects.

Even if your opioids are prescribed by your doctor and you take them as directed, you’re still at a high risk of developing an opioid addiction. 

An opioid addiction is a chronic disease that affects your physical, mental, and economic well-being. Like any chronic illness, an opioid addiction benefits from ongoing medical care, which may include Suboxone.

How Suboxone works

Suboxone is a medication prescribed to treat opioid misuse and addiction. The active ingredients are:


Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. It binds to the opioid receptors throughout your nervous system to alleviate pain and produce pleasurable feelings. However, unlike other types of opioids, the effects are weaker.

Additionally, buprenorphine has a “ceiling effect,” which means taking a higher dose doesn’t increase the effects. This helps prevent drug misuse. 

For an opioid addiction, buprenorphine decreases withdrawal symptoms and cravings. 


Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. It’s primary function is to reverse the effects of the opioid. It’s often injected alone to treat an overdose. 

When you take Suboxone, it’s given as a sublingual film or tablet that dissolves under your tongue. The purpose of the naloxone in oral Suboxone is to prevent you from injecting the medication — injecting naloxone stops the actions of the buprenorphine and causes uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

We offer Suboxone to help patients struggling with an opioid addiction, to assist patients who want to get off opiods in order to prevent addiction, and as a pain-relieving option for our patients suffering from a chronic pain condition.

The benefits of Suboxone

Many people have concerns about Suboxone because it contains a partial opioid agonist. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says when part of MAT, Suboxone has proven to: 

As noted, Suboxone may also help provide pain relief without risk of addiction. This benefits our patients struggling to find other medications and therapies to help reduce their discomfort.

Many people who suffer from chronic pain develop an opioid dependence. But you have options, and we can help. Book an appointment by phone or online at the office nearest you to set up a consultation and learn more about Suboxone.

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