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Understanding the Effects of Opioid Agonists and Antagonists, and How They are Used to Manage Withdrawal.

Opioid agonists are drugs that mimic the effects of naturally occurring endorphins in the body and produce an opioid effect by interacting with the brain’s opioid receptor sites. Opioid antagonists are drugs that bind to these same receptor sites and block the effects of opioids. For example, a drug like Suboxone® is both an agonist and antagonist that relieves opioid withdrawal symptoms, while also protecting against further opioid use.

At Soft Landing Recovery, we utilize both agonists and antagonists that include Suboxone®, Subutex®, and Zubsolv® to slowly and systematically assist in breaking the chain of dependence on prescription pain killers and other opioids such as heroin. The euphoric effects of these drugs are less than with full opioids and the habit forming potential is lower. Therefore, it is much easier to stop taking these medications than other full opioids.

Medication-assisted detox is not a treatment by itself. Instead, its primary purpose is to alleviate the uncomfortable effects of withdrawals and cravings to opioids while you re-learn how to live without them.

For the greatest long-term benefit and to prevent relapse, this form of medication assisted treatment (MAT) should always be part of a comprehensive program that also includes education, counseling, and intervention therapies.

Utilizing a medication management approach, only 11% of Soft Landing Recovery patients experience relapse.

Suboxone®, Subutex®, and Zubsolv® are all buprenorphine-based medications, which is a partial opioid with a much better safety profile than other opioids. It is usually administered as a once or twice daily dose by placing under the tongue or as prescribed by our physicians. Suboxone® is in the form of a film strip and Subutex® and Zubsolv® are in tablet form.


DO NOT INJECT (“shoot-up”) Suboxone®, Subutex®, or Zubsolv®. Injecting these may cause life-threatening infections and other serious health problems. Injection may also cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as pain, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, sleep problems, and cravings.

Possible Side Affects

Call us or get emergency help right away if you:

  1. Feel sleepy and uncoordinated
  2. Have blurred vision
  3. Have slurred speech
  4. Cannot think well or clearly
  5. Have Slowed reflexes and breathing

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