Since the introduction of Suboxone for the treatment of opiate and opioid addiction and dependence, there have been many anecdotal reports of its usefulness in the treatment of fibromyalgia discomfort and tenderness to light touch.
Suboxone is a medication with two active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. Subutex is another well known brand which only contains buprenorphine.
Buprenorphine is a special kind of opioid that blocks and activates receptors at the same time. Its unique properties make it ideal for the treatment of addiction. It also happens to work well for the treatment of chronic physical discomfort.
Naloxone, a potent opioid receptor blocker, is included as a component of Suboxone mainly for the purpose of deterring abuse. Since Suboxone is used to treat addiction, it is important to prevent addicts from abusing their prescribed medication.
Would either Suboxone or Subutex work equally well for the treatment of the severe discomfort and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia? Possibly, but Suboxone may be a better choice.
While naloxone, the abuse deterrent, is not significantly absorbed with normal use of Suboxone, there is still some absorption. This is easily demonstrated by reviewing a urine drug test that measures naloxone. If a patient is taking Suboxone, there will be detectable naloxone in the urine. Therefore, it is still absorbed, although in very small amounts.
The reason that this is significant is that there have been studies and reports that low dose naloxone or naltrexone may help with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. This is thought to be due to it having an anti-inflammatory effect on the central nervous system.
To summarize, Suboxone contains buprenorphine to treat opioid dependence by preventing withdrawal sickness and relapse and it contains naloxone to prevent abuse of the Suboxone. Coincidentally, the combination of these two medications may be ideal for improving the symptoms of physical discomfort from fibromyalgia. It would be beneficial to further study this off label use of Suboxone.
While there is no guarantee that Suboxone will help with the symptoms of fibromyalgia, for patients who have exhausted all other options, it is something that may be considered. To find out more about this form of treatment, it would be recommended to contact a doctor or treatment facility who is experienced in the use of buprenorphine medications for the treatment of pain and for the treatment of opioid dependence.