What Is Buprenorphine Prescribed For?

What is Buprenorphine? Derived from a naturally occurring alkaloid of the opium poppy (thebaine), buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid used in the management of opioid dependence. The advantages of buprenorphine over methadone lies in its fewer withdrawal symptoms, less respiratory depression, lower risk of toxicity, and decreased risk of diversion. WhiteSands Addiction Treatment Center’s medical doctors may use medications to assist in the management of a patient’s withdrawal symptoms.

What is Buprenorphine?

The Food and Drug and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of buprenorphine as an opiate addiction treatment in 2002. What is buprenorphine? Although buprenorphine has several uses, it’s most commonly used as an alternative to methadone. The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) reports that buprenorphine can be “used to treat addiction to any type of opiate, including oxycodones such as OxyContin and Percocet.” This drug is a synthetic opiate (opioid) which reduces its capacity to produce effects such as euphoria and respiratory depression, and they are present only in a decreased capacity. When medication-assisted treatment or therapy (MAT) is appropriate for a person suffering from opiate dependence, buprenorphine assists with tapering off of opiates. Normal cravings are reduced even though buprenorphine binds to the same opioid receptors as the drug that was abused and works on the central nervous system. The difference is that buprenorphine reduces the withdrawal symptoms of the abused drug instead of increasing them.

What Is Buprenorphine Used For?

Opiate addiction numbers are increasing every year according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In some instances, a drug can help reduce the cravings for an abused substance and ease the symptoms of withdrawal during detoxification. What is buprenorphine used for? Buprenorphine aids in the withdrawal process by lessening the severity of the symptoms. Following detoxification, the doctor may feel the patient needs to remain on buprenorphine during recovery and even after he or she goes home and returns to normal life activities. Subutex is the straight buprenorphine used in the detox and withdrawal phase. Your doctor will order routine blood tests while you are taking buprenorphine because the liver metabolizes it, and he or she will want to monitor your liver function while you are on this drug.

If buprenorphine is abused, it can cause respiratory depression. Alcohol, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, sedatives, or tranquilizers should never be taken with buprenorphine as it can cause nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. This is especially dangerous if the individual is driving or operating a piece of machinery. Overdosing on buprenorphine is possible if a person takes more than the prescribed dose. These side effects are primarily experienced by an individual who takes too much or misuses it.

Buprenorphine And Naloxone

During maintenance, following detox and therapy, a combination drug is prescribed. Naloxone is combined with buprenorphine as a precautionary measure. It may be prescribed as Suboxone, Zubsolv, or Bunavail. Its purpose is to prevent the individual from crushing the pills to snort or inject the drug. If a person were to inject or snort buprenorphine and naloxone, he or she will suffer extreme and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

It’s important to remember that buprenorphine can be addictive, and although it isn’t as addictive as methadone or other opiates, the potential is there for abuse and misuse. Buprenorphine is the better option of all the opiate replacement therapies. It is much easier to be weaned from buprenorphine than from methadone.

If you or someone you loved is addicted to opioids or any other substance, today is the day to be proactive and seek help. WhiteSands Addiction Treatment Center is ready to help you end the destructive cycle of substance abuse. There is hope and recovery, and you can find them both by calling us whenever you are ready.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.