A Brief Overview of Suboxone

By Michael O’Connell, MD, MHA

Suboxone, the trade name for sublingual buprenorphine, is used for the treatment of opioid addiction and also off label for chronic pain. Unlike methadone, a commonly used treatment for opioid addiction, Suboxone generally provides no noticeable high or state of sedation. As such, Suboxone treatment may prove to be more appropriate than methadone, as it provides far less potential for misuse. Health care professionals in many countries have noted a lower rate of relapses in patients treated with Suboxone. Some have even gone so far as to dub it a “miracle pill.” While not exactly miraculous, it is extremely useful in combination with group counseling.

Derived from the opium poppy plant, Suboxone reacts with the k-opioid receptors within that portion of the brain that is directly involved with pain, consciousness, and addiction potential. Suboxone was initially used in 1980 as an injectable analgesic, but was later discovered to possess properties that aided in withdrawal of patients from potent opioids.

In addition to its use in treating opioid addiction, Suboxone can also be prescribed “off label” for moderate to severe chronic pain. Cancer patients as well as individuals who suffer from neuropathic or musculoskeletal pain, especially those who are highly tolerant and dependent on potent opioids, may benefit greatly from this drug. Many physicians choose this medication over others due to its high safety profile, long shelf life, and often surprisingly good analgesic qualities.

About the Author:

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell of Barrington, New Hampshire, has forged a distinguished career spanning over three decades, as entrepreneur, physician, businessman, philanthropist and healthcare consultant. As former owner, administrator and CEO of a 225+ employee multi-specialty medical practice, Dr. O’Connell has dedicated his entire professional life to helping patients with family medicine and especially those experiencing chronic pain and all aspects of addiction.

About Dr. Michael J. O'Connell, New Hampshire
Dr. Michael J. O'Connell of Barrington, New Hampshire, has forged a distinguished career spanning over three decades, as entrepreneur, physician, businessman, philanthropist and healthcare consultant. As former owner, administrator and CEO of a 225+ employee multi-specialty medical practice, Dr. O'Connell has dedicated his entire professional life to helping patients with family medicine and especially those experiencing chronic pain and all aspects of addiction. Since selling his family of healthcare businesses, he has never once contemplated retirement despite his rich and fulfilling journey, but instead has turned his focus to consulting in an industry starved for courage and creativity. Having weathered many political, technological and legal challenges, there is hardly a storm he has not confronted, a tempest he has not quelled, an urgent need he has not met. While the talking heads and self-proclaimed experts in the field have assumed the conventions and standards of the times, Dr. O'Connell does not believe in merely reflecting the herd mentality, but rather in leading the charge. Eschewing political correctness, Dr. O'Connell says and does what needs saying and doing, and not what the mindless masses expect. In addition to the continual education afforded by his variegated life experiences, Dr O'Connell earned his BS in Biochemistry at the University of NH in 1975, his Medical Degree from Dartmouth College in 1981, interned at Walter Reed Medical Center in 1982, Residency/Fellowship at UCSF in1986, and finished his Masters in Healthcare Administration at UNH in 1995. Dr. O’Connell enjoys many outdoor activities, including rock climbing, snowboarding, hiking, and golf. Through the decades Dr. O'Connell has supported many non-profit charities to include the St. Charles Home in Rochester NH, the Tri City VNA and Hospice, Hyder House, and Cocheco Valley Humane Society. To the latter organization alone Dr. O'Connell has donated over $180,000 and pledged another $250,000 in the “Bring-Us-Home” campaign for a new building. His “Matching Donations Christmas drive” has generated over $175,000 in charitable giving from the community. In addition Dr. O'Connell has participated in many dozens of other volunteer and donation efforts locally as well as in Africa and the Dominican Republic. For a listing of how I gave back to the community during my career and continue to do see: https://michaeloconnellmdnh.wordpress.com/

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