Using Buprenorphine to Treat Opioid Use Disorders


The opioid epidemic currently sweeping the U.S. has left few unaffected, with opioid-related overdose rates continuing to climb.

The past few years of staggering opioid abuse rates have shown an increased need for effective treatment of opioid use disorders.

Buprenorphine, first approved for daily use by the Federal Drug Administration in 2002, has proven a greatly effective method at treating opioid abuse, including addiction to heroin and prescription opioids.

What is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex, Zubsolv) is an opioid medication which works to help opioid-addicted individuals quit use of opioids by eliminating most or all withdrawal symptoms during the detox phase.

Although buprenorphine is itself an opioid, it is only a partial agonist. This means it does not produce feelings of euphoria and respiratory depression to the extent of more potent opioids, like heroin.

This ceiling effect, along with other benefits, makes buprenorphine a highly successful treatment for opioid use disorder.

Buprenorphine is usually given in small doses set by a tapering schedule, so individuals can eventually wean off use of the medication altogether.

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment with Buprenorphine

Perhaps the greatest benefit of buprenorphine is that it helps individuals get through the worst of the initial withdrawal period.

Withdrawal from opioids is extremely intense and often the reason many continue to abuse the drugs. Opioid withdrawal can cause harrowing symptoms, such as extreme anxiety, muscle aches, and nausea and vomiting.

Buprenorphine mimics the effects of more powerful opioids on a lesser scale. In this way, the individual gets the opioid-like effects just enough to stave off withdrawal, but not enough to feel high.

Other benefits of medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine may include:

  • reducing or stopping illicit opioid use
  • helping individuals complete treatment
  • helping individuals remain committed to long-term recovery

Buprenorphine Injections for Long-Term Recovery Results

While most buprenorphine injections are administered at a rehab facility or clinic on a daily basis, some individuals may require a different schedule.

The daily prescribing method can prove to leave individuals with cravings at the end of the day, which can ultimately contribute to opioid abuse.

Recent approval by the FDA led to the availability of monthly buprenorphine injections. One study showed that participants with an opioid abuse history as long as 11-12 years saw positive results from using the monthly injection (in addition to daily injections) compared to those who did not.

Positive results for those receiving monthly buprenorphine (Sublocade) injections included stopping opioid use, relief from withdrawal symptoms, and controlling opioid cravings.

Get Help Now for Opioid Abuse!

If you have struggled with opioid abuse for years and cannot find a solution, there is still hope. Medication-assisted treatment programs using buprenorphine help individuals stop opioid use and repair their lives.

Even if you haven’t experienced an opioid overdose, you’re not out of danger. Some opioids are powerful enough to lead to overdose with just one use.

Don’t take the risk. Contact our addiction experts today to find an opioid treatment program that’s right for you.

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