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Will Suboxone Make You Gain Weight?

Opioid addiction is something that most people need professional help to overcome. Cutting back or stopping opioid use “cold turkey” can be unpleasant and even dangerous and maintaining abstinence from opioid use following withdrawal is difficult without the right support. Fortunately, there are a range of treatment options available. In addition to behavioral therapies, medication-assisted addiction treatment can help people overcome opioid misuse or addiction and live happier, healthier lives.

Suboxone is a medication used in the treatment of opioid dependence. Physicians and patients alike benefit from using Suboxone, but unfortunately, a few stubborn Suboxone myths still linger.

How Does Suboxone Work?

In 2002, the FDA approved buprenorphine (brand name Suboxone) for the treatment of opioid addiction. The medication has impressive advantages when used to treat opioid addiction. For example, Suboxone suppresses opioid withdrawal symptoms for up to 24 hours.

Suboxone is comprised of two different medications:

  • Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that produces a lower effect than full opioid agonists, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, and heroin. Buprenorphine attaches to the brain’s opioid receptors, blocking out the effects of other opioids.
  • Naloxone: Traditionally used to block the effects of other opioid medications, naloxone has been around for years. It is stocked in emergency rooms for use with suspected opioid overdose.

The Great Weight-Gain Myth

One of the most popular Suboxone myths is that the medication causes patients to gain a significant amount of weight. While Suboxone is not typically associated with significant weight gain, it can indirectly impact weight for some individuals undergoing addiction treatment. As mentioned, Suboxone is a medication used in the treatment of opioid dependence. When a person starts their recovery journey, they may experience reduced cravings for opioids, which may improve their eating habits and increase their physical activity. These positive lifestyle changes may actually lead to weight loss. However, some individuals may replace their opioid use with other behaviors, such as overeating, which can lead to weight gain.

Opioids can also cause constipation and water retention. When you combine constipation and water retention, you can easily feel like you’re gaining weight. One of the best ways to confirm your suspected weight gain is to step on a scale. You may find that you have been retaining water while misusing drugs and you’re just noticing it now that the addiction fog is lifting.

Ultimately, weight changes during Suboxone treatment are dependent on the individual and can vary based on several factors, such as pre-existing habits and overall health. It’s important to discuss any weight-related concerns with your healthcare provider. If you’re struggling with addiction, talking to your healthcare provider can be a good first step. They can provide you with referrals for treatment and help you learn more about inpatient and outpatient rehab options.

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