Is taking MAT medication like suboxone bad for your liver?
Suboxone is a prescription medication that aids in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for addiction, according to the Food and Drug Administration. MAT clinics treat addiction disorders by administering suboxone to help individuals overcome opioid use disorder (OUD) and opioid misuse. Such medication supports their journey towards long-term sobriety with greater ease and less physical discomfort, which improves their recovery odds. However, some worry about suboxone’s impacts on the liver. Fortunately, research shows that suboxone has minimal effects on the liver, especially when compared to the devastating consequences of active addiction to opioids. However, learning about suboxone and the liver is critical for many considering MAT medications.
In the context of the opioid crisis, we currently face massive death tolls and a tremendous burden on hospitals and, in some cases, even prisons. Treatment options for opioid addiction that don’t have critical adverse side effects on the body and don’t necessarily require residential treatment have become more attractive as the need for addiction support increases.
The journey toward addiction recovery can, at times, be fraught with challenges and fear around the unknown. However, fortunately, suboxone is a beacon of hope for many stuck in the terrible and chaotic cycle of chemical dependency on opioids, removing them from the even more destructive and harmful impacts of addiction on the liver and in life.
In this blog by MAT Care Clinics, we will delve into the relationship between suboxone and the liver, taking a closer look at its safety and efficacy in MAT for treating opioid addiction so those suffering can make safer decisions about their treatment options with insight. Today, we recognize that addiction recovery can look different for many. So, keep reading to learn more about suboxone’s impacts on the liver.
Click here for more information about MAT Care Clinics or to read more blogs about opioids, addiction, and MAT medications.
Understanding the Goals of Medication-Assisted Treatment
Before determining the effects of suboxone on the liver, it’s essential to understand what medication-assisted treatment truly is. MAT care for addiction is an evidence-based approach that combines medication and, in some cases, behavioral therapy or counseling for a comprehensive model.
The goal of MAT is to address both the physical and often psychological aspects of addiction so those receiving care achieve long-term sobriety through a more comfortable approach. MAT is effective for many experiencing opioid use disorder in reducing drug use overdose risk and minimizing engagement in drug-seeking behavior or criminal activity, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
The Role of Suboxone in Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction
Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, according to the medication’s website. These two powerful substances work together to help many overcome the standard features that make a recovery from substance use disorder more challenging.
- Buprenorphine is an FDA-approved medication that stimulates the exact receptors in the individual’s brain as opioids without inducing a pleasurable or rewarding high. This function helps limit drug cravings that may lead to relapse while preventing withdrawal symptoms.
- Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, impeding the effects of other opioids if consumed alongside the suboxone dose. The added ingredient acts as a safeguard against potential misuse of the medication. It prevents overdose in case of accidental or intentional opioid ingestion.
By managing many of the physical features of addictions, individuals in recovery from substance use disorders, like those involving opioids, can focus on their sobriety goals without being distracted by intense cravings or dope-sickness. Hence, they can get to the other side of active addiction and rebuild their lives.
The Importance of Healthy Liver Functioning in MAT for Treating OUDs
Having a healthy functioning liver is essential for the overall well-being and personal welfare of anyone, any day. The liver’s function is critical in keeping the body regular as it performs many vital functions for us all day, like filtering toxins from the blood and aiding in digestion. The liver also plays an instrumental role in metabolizing nutrients and breaking down medications like suboxone, which is why everyone undergoing MAT treatments should consider the effects of suboxone on the liver and your current liver health.
Many individuals living with opioid addiction have compromised liver function due to their frequent drug and alcohol use, which can be concerning for those seeking MAT medications like suboxone, as these medications can further strain the liver. Suppose you may already have liver difficulties or suspect you may. In that case, it’s critical to disclose this to your MAT or suboxone provider. These medical providers specializing in MAT medication can help you ensure you’re a suitable candidate for Suboxone medication.
Understanding Suboxone and the Liver
In the Journal of Drugs and Alcohol Dependence, suboxone shows minimal impact on liver functioning, and no liver damage occurs in those receiving treatment in the initial six-month period. This data means that the prescriber can safely administer the Suboxone with these considerations in mind, mainly because proper administration includes ongoing monitoring through MAT clinicians and prescribers.
The study also found that buprenorphine (the main ingredient in Suboxone) did not significantly increase liver enzymes or cause any adverse effects on the liver, ensuring users could feel safe with the combination. Since the drug is mainly processed and metabolized in the liver, concerns about suboxone’s impact on liver function should always be a consideration in MAT treatment. However, the suboxone’s effect on the organ is minimal compared to opioids.
According to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, opioid misuse and overdose cause liver damage in ways that can, at times, be fatal or at least exacerbate many of the following liver issues:
- Liver injury
- Liver failure
- Vanishing bile duct syndrome
- Hepatic failure or acute liver failure
Factors to Consider When Using Suboxone
Here are some tips to review as you consider suboxone’s effect on the liver and body.
- Disclose any pre-existing liver conditions to your MAT treatment provider before starting suboxone treatment. As previously mentioned, individuals with severe liver disease may require closer monitoring and a lower dosage of Suboxone. However, in many cases, this medication is still considered safe for most individuals with these conditions. But discussing this directly with your provider is always best.
- Follow the prescribed suboxone dosage and do not mix with other substances. Mixing or taking a larger dose may impact suboxone’s effects on the liver, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines.
- Additionally, if you notice any sensations or cravings appear, immediately let your prescriber know. Your transparency can help these specialists determine how to increase your chances for success with MAT care.
Suboxone Supports Healthier Living, Leading to Better Liver Function Over Time!
Suboxone can be transformative in the treatment of opioid addiction, and research demonstrates its effects on the liver are often slight when compared to opioids. By incorporating suboxone into MAT, individuals can get the support they need to overcome their addiction without worrying about causing significant harm to their liver. However, it’s essential to follow all medical recommendations and precautions with the MAT clinic and medical team you are working with directly to ensure safe and effective treatment.
Ultimately, suboxone offers hope for many individuals struggling with opioid addiction and serves as a vital tool in the fight against this widespread epidemic, which changes life now and for later generations.
So, if you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help and explore MAT options like suboxone. Remember – recovery is possible!
More About MAT Care Clinics and Suboxone
- Opioid Use Disorder
- Prescription Misuse
- Alcohol Use Disorder
- Cocaine and Stimulant Addiction
Our compassionate and experienced MAT treatment providers specialize in individualized treatment plans, including the use of suboxone when appropriate. Such treatments help individuals achieve lasting recovery and provide ongoing follow-up opportunities to ensure they arrive at brighter chapters in life where drugs don’t dominate their daily experience.
Contact MAT Care Clinics today to learn more about us, our expert MAT team, and how we can support you or someone close to you on the journey toward sobriety.
Reach us at (833) 622-0628 or via this online form. Our MAT Clinic is in Nashua, NH, for convenience and accessibility.
Don’t hesitate. Take the first step toward freedom from the chains of addiction to opioids.
**Note to Readers: It is essential to consult with a medical professional, preferably a doctor experienced in addiction treatment, before starting any medication for opioid addiction, including medications like suboxone. These specialized, licensed experts can help you assess your individual needs and provide custom MAT and addiction treatment care throughout your recovery experience.