Subutex is the brand name for buprenorphine (HC1). It is a semisynthetic drug that has been approved for use as a treatment for opioid addiction. Because of its long plasma half-life which means that the drug stays in the body longer, it is also used to alleviate moderate chronic pain. The advantage of using Subutex is its partial opioid antagonist component that negate respiratory depression which is usually a primary reason drug overdose fatalities occur. Research studies also show Subutex to be less sedating than methadone when used to treat opioid dependence. However, when combined with alcohol or other forms of central nervous system depressants, users can experience severe and even life threatening respiratory depression.
In appearance, Subutex is a white or off-white crystalline powder that is freely soluble in methanol and alcohol but sparingly soluble in water and mostly insoluble in cyclohexane. The drug is also available in the following formulations:
- 2 mg, White, Oval Sublingual tablet imprinted with a sword on one side and B2 on the other
- 8 mg, White, Oval Sublingual tablet imprinted with a sword on one side and B8 on the other
These are uncoated tablets that contain buprenorphine as the primary ingredient. Other ingredients may include lactose, mannitol, cornstarch, povidone K30, citric acid, sodium citrate and magnesium stearate.
Subutex is also available in generic formulations that according to FDA mandates, must compare to the brand name product after testing.
Buprenorphine is a Scheduled III Controlled Substance which meet the criteria as having accepted medical use with a low potential for abuse that can lead to moderate physical and psychological dependence.
Generic Subutex are also approved for medical use by the FDA. This approval is assigned an AB rating as an indication that these products compare to the brand name formulations.
History of Subutex
After ten years of research Reckitt Benckiser drug company (formerly Reckitt & Colman) were successful in synthetizing a narcotic that could retain the desirable components of an opioid while eliminating the undesirable side effect of addiction. After success was achieved in 1969, studies on humans began in 1971. After seven years Subutex (buprenorphine) was ready to be introduced to the medical community and in 1982 the sublingual formulation was approved for treatment. Later Subutex was combined with Naloxone and received approval to be marketed under the brand name Suboxone.
Prior to FDA approval for Suboxone, Subutex was rescheduled from a Schedule V to a Schedule III drug on the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) list. Physicians are required to have special training to prescribe Subutex or other combination medications for outpatient treatment of opioid addiction.
Use and Abuse
The primary use of this drug is to relieve the withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping the use of narcotic drugs and to avoid relapse. However, because Subutex is opioid based, when this drug is used for purposes other than is intended or not as prescribed it is possible for users to become dependent or addicted to this drug. High tolerance levels have also been reported with long term habitual use the sublingual form of this drug.
Common reactions from using Subutex may include but is not be limited to:
- Back pain
- Fever and chills
- Coughing, sneezing
- Hoarseness or a sore throat
- Difficulty urinating
- runny nose
Symptoms of an overdose of Subutex, especially if it is used in combination with other depressants can be dangerous and in some cases may need immediate medical attention. These many include:
- Slowed heart rate,
- Shallow breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Cold and clammy skin
- Weak muscles
- Constricted pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive drowsiness
Efforts to stop taking Subutex after prolonged use can present a host of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as diarrhea, mood swings, tremors, respiratory distress, muscle and bone pain, sweating and high blood pressure to name a few. These are especially possible when the user tries to go cold turkey. If drug dependence or addiction to Subutex has developed, withdrawals symptoms can begin as little as 3 to 4 hours few hours after the last dose.
Most people with a dependence on Subutex typically developed the addiction because of misuse while treating an existing opioid addiction, or they began using the drug for recreational purposes. A thorough physical and psychological evaluation is therefore essential to make an accurate diagnosis and before commencing treatment. At Drug Rehab Treatment Centers we provide in-patient or outpatient options that can help to reverse buprenorphine addiction. Proper medical management of Subutex administration can mitigate uncomfortable and life threatening opioid withdrawals and help to prevent a relapse.
If you or a loved one have been abusing Subutex or have developed an addiction to this drug, we can help. Call our Drug Rehab Treatment Centers today at 877-855-3470. Our qualified and compassionate representatives are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about Subutex and our treatment services and options.