People who inject suboxone are far more likely to overdose than people who don’t, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.
The study also found that people who inject methadone and buprenorphine, the main drugs used to treat opioid addiction, were far less likely to end up in hospital or prison.
The results, from a large national survey, come from a group of nearly 400 people who have taken Suboxoone, a bupreloamphetamine (Buprenorph) and other drugs that blocks the body’s opioid receptors.
A suboxonasal spray is injected into the mouth or nose, and the drug is injected up to 12 times a day.
Injections occur in just a few of the 10 million people in the United Kingdom.
The survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI, a British pollster, between April 2015 and March 2017.
People who took Suboxones were found to be more likely than those who didn’t to report an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviour, including feelings of hopelessness, hopelessness and despair, as well as a decrease in self-confidence, self-esteem and a decrease on social skills.
The findings, which have been published in BMJ Open, may be because Suboxonists are more likely, because they are more educated, or both.
They may also be because of the higher rates of opioid dependence and overdoses, or because Subo-drug users use less drugs, said study author Dr Michael Wray, of the University of Portsmouth, in a statement.
“Our study suggests that it may be important to consider how Suboxosol can be used therapeutically to help reduce these harmful behaviours,” he said.
In its most recent survey, the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found that 4,542 people took Suboxy-Suboxone in 2016.
More than half of them were men, and only 3.3 per cent were aged under 30.
There was also a significant drop in the rate of opioid use among those who took the drug, from 27 per cent to 17 per cent.
“We know that the most commonly used opioid is heroin, but it is still common to have opioid use and overdose and to have more than one addiction,” Dr Wray said.
“Suboxonoids have been used for decades to treat addiction to opiates, so we thought it was worthwhile to explore the role that they may have in treating opioid dependence.”
The study found that, of those who had taken Suboxy and Suboxons, more than half reported an increase on suicidal thoughts, including thoughts of suicide, and an increase among people who were on medication.
The research was carried out in collaboration with the charity Substance Use Information Network, which aims to help people who are addicted to opioids.
“This is an important first step in the development of a treatment that could reduce opioid use by reducing the amount of opioid taken, which is associated with increased risk of opioid overdose and death,” said the charity’s executive director, Simon Worsley.
“With a new drug like Suboxoa, it could be very helpful for people who use other opioids to be able to avoid them.”
This is a developing story.
More to come.