Suboxone cannot be started until the patient is in withdrawal from opiates, and must be taken using special techniques and at the proper doses in order to obtain the necessary amount of the medicine at the opiate receptors in the brain to control withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of people do not take Suboxone properly and thus reduce by as much as 90% the amount of buprenorphine (the active component of Suboxone) that actually is present at the opiate receptors in the brain. Since the efficacy of Suboxone is directly related to the percentage of total opiate receptors that are occupied by a molecule of buprenorphine, improper technique when taking Suboxone or generic buprenorphine can easily make the difference between successful treatment and failure.
Essentially 100% of people who obtain Suboxone from the street or a friend do not take it properly and thus almost all fail to remain sober. Dr. Russ believes that improper technique when taking Suboxone is the main reason that many believe that Suboxone does not work effectively for opiate withdrawal.
The most common errors people make when taking Suboxone and buprenorphine are:
1. Taking Suboxone with a contaminated tongue
Suboxone and buprenorphine are designed to be taken under the tongue (sublingually). This is a very sensitive area for absorption that is easily negatively affected by anything that produces even a thin film layer on the tongue. Therefore it is critical that the patient observe the proper technique to insure that the tongue is completely clear when the Suboxone or buprenorphine is taken.
2. Swallowing saliva after taking Suboxone or Buprenorphine
Buprenorphine is destroyed and inactivated when it comes into contact with the normal acids in the stomach. When taking Suboxone or buprenorphine sublingually, 80-90% of buprenorphine ends up in the saliva with only 10-20% being directly absorbed into the tongue from direct contact with the medicine film or pill.
Therefore, it is essential that people do not swallow their saliva when taking Suboxone or buprenorphine because they will be swallowing 80-90% of the buprenorphine, which is almost instantly and entirely broken down into other chemicals. These breakdown chemicals are very irritating to both the stomach and the brain, thus causing severe stomachaches and headaches in the region of the temples in about 40% of people who swallow even the slightest amount of buprenorphine.
Unfortunately the biggest consequence of taking Suboxone and buprenorphine incorrectly is a massive insufficiency of buprenorphine molecules occupying the opiate receptors of the brain. Since the benefit from and efficacy of the treatment is directly related to the percentage of opiate receptors occupied by a buprenorphine molecule, it is easy to understand how any individual who does not take their Suboxone properly will have a much smaller (as little as 1/10th) chance of success by maintaining lasting sobriety from opiates.
Dr. Russ has worked consistently to develop the most efficient and effective techniques for taking Suboxone and buprenorphine, both in film and pill form so that his patients who follow the “Dr. Russ Suboxone Protocol” are likely to transfer 90-95% of the buprenorphine from a film or pill compared to as low as 10% when taken improperly. Transfer differences between 90% and 10% mean the difference between Suboxone being a “miracle drug” and ineffective.