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Buprenorphine for opioid addiction rehabilitation.
Patients well-suited for buprenorphine
Buprenorphine may be an optimal treatment medication for patients who have been addicted to prescription painkillers for less than a year. Candidates exhibiting favorable conditions for buprenorphine tend to be young in age, have a solid social support system and live in a stable environment. Patients do not have a co-occurring mental disorder, are more likely to be compliant with treatment guidance and exhibit lower risks of diversion.
The benefits of buprenorphine
The extended-release versions of buprenorphine offer a convenient option for many people. Because the dose is controlled, the recovery medication cannot be misused or diverted for illegal use, and the treatment will not interfere with the patient’s work, school, or family schedule.
What is Suboxone®
Suboxone® is the commercial name for buprenorphine combined with naloxone for the treatment of opioid addiction.
Buprenorphine is a FDA-approved, highly studied and regulated medication used to help individuals recover from opioid addiction in a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program. It acts as a stabilizer in the body rather than as a narcotic. When taken as prescribed, buprenorphine helps patients function physically, emotionally and intellectually without impairment. Furthermore, it helps patients engage in counseling to set goals and achieve positive health, mental and behavioral outcomes.
Buprenorphine sticks to the opioid receptors in the brain, so those who take other opioids while on buprenorphine will not experience a high. This is because there are so few open brain receptors for them to bind with. When taken as directed and not combined with other drugs like benzodiazepines, buprenorphine reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and carries a low risk of overdose.
Also, the effects of buprenorphine level off at a moderate dose, so there is little incentive to take more. Doctors call this a ceiling effect.
Buprenorphine is best suited for patients that are addicted to prescription painkillers for less than a year.
Individuals must stop using opioids for 12 to 24 hours and be in mild opioid withdrawal before starting buprenorphine.
Buprenorphine should be started only once the symptoms of withdrawal have begun. For longer-term treatment of addiction, a combination formula of buprenorphine and naloxone is recommended.
Buprenorphine is available in a number of different formulations, including tablets and a film that dissolves under the tongue or inside the cheek. It is also available in extended-release implants or monthly injections.
Buprenorphine has been found to be safe and effective in treating opioid use disorder. Some patients have reported side effects like sleep disturbances, nausea, constipation, vomiting, dizziness, headache and muscle aches. Often these side effects decrease with time.
Suboxone® is the commercial name for buprenorphine when it is combined with naloxone for the treatment of opioid addiction. Although naloxone is mostly used for overdoses, it is also added to buprenorphine formulations to deter misuse and prevent the buprenorphine from being inappropriately used.