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Addiction & Recovery Message Board

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Re: Why Suboxone???
Oct 19, 2007
What is often overlooked is the potential damage of the common painkillers because of their compounding - mixing Tylenol with hydrocondone, for example. The maximum recommended dose of Tylenol is 4 grams/day (or stated another way 8 500mg doses.) Liver damage can occur at levels above 4 grams. The compounding of opiates with Tylenol allows these drugs to remain a Schedule III drug which makes it easier for a physician to prescribe for temporary pain control. Long term use of these compounds can be hazardous.

The opiates are much safer and basically non-toxic at the doses we are talking about. The biggest risk of pure opiates is the potential for overdose and respiratory depression.

Therefore, the reason one should consider substituting is to reduce the risk of organ damage. Once on the substitute (like Suboxone) the decision about when and how to reduce and eventually eliminate the drug use is made when the patient is really ready to make a change. In the meantime, we eliminate the lying and scheming around that occurs around the addiction which is partly driven by the fear of losing your supply.

If one truly has no underlying pain control or other issues, it is certainly safe enough to go "cold turkey" but our experience in the addiction field is that not everybody is able to go directly from addiction to live a drug-free life without some intermediate steps. That's where harm reduction comes in.

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