What is Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist that is used to treat opioid addiction. Buprenorphine can be considered a halfway point between a full opioid agonist like methadone or Levacetylmethadol (LAAM) and other opioid antagonists like naltrexone or nalmefene.
Full opioid agonists, such as methadone and heroin, exert greater opioid receptor activity based on dose. There is a plateau of receptor activation, meaning no further effect if a dose is increased.
When utilizing buprenorphine treatment, the buprenorphine possess properties causing an individual with an opioid dependence to begin to “feel normal.”
Opioid Dependency Treatment at Turning Point of Tampa
Buprenorphine maintenance is not offered at Turning Point of Tampa. Buprenorphine maintenance can be very successful for some, however, those who enter our facility have experienced buprenorphine's opioid effects and their opioid dependency continued.
Opioid dependency withdrawal can be brutal. Buprenorphine can help, however, complete abstinence from all drugs is the basis of our program. This means when we treat a person with opioid dependency, buprenorphine may be part of the process, but complete abstinence is required before admission.
Buprenorphine is an Opioid
Buprenorphine is an opioid, which means it slows down your brain and nervous system. Buprenorphine does this by acting on the same receptors in the brain as heroin, morphine, and codeine.
Buprenorphine can be prescribed for treatment of addition to opioids in combination with counseling or other social support. Medication assisted treatment (MAT) offers sublingual tablet or sublingual tablets as well as other forms of Buprenorphine and other medications as needed.
What is Buprenorphine Treatment?
Physicians prescribe buprenorphine as a medication used to treat addiction to opiates. Buprenorphine is the first medication to treat opioid dependency. Buprenorphine is an opioid medication in sublingual tablets, and it works by binding partial agonist at the mu opioid receptor and an antagonist at the kappa receptor in the brain.
What are Opioid Agonists?
Opioid agonists are drugs that act on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects. These drugs are used in the treatment of severe pain, acute pain and chronic pain. They are classified into three categories:
- Full opioid agonist
- Partial opioid agonist
- Mixed opioid agonist
What are Opioid Antagonists?
An opioid antagonist is a drug that blocks the effects of opioids. It can be used to counteract the effects of an overdose and can also be used in the treatment of addiction to opioids. Naloxone, naltrexone, and methylnaltrexone are examples.
Is Buprenorphine the same as Methadone?
No. Buprenorphine is not the same as methadone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, but it has less potential for addiction and withdrawal.
What is the major difference between Buprenorphine and Methadone?
The major difference between buprenorphine and methadone is that buprenorphine does not produce the same type of high as methadone does. Methadone is a full opioid agonist and it binds to the receptors in the brain in order to produce euphoria, which can lead to addiction. Buprenorphine binds to the receptors, but only partially so it doesn't produce as much of a high or lead to addiction.
Is Buprenorphine the Same as Tramadol?
No. Buprenorphine and Tramadol are similar but not the same.
Tramadol is a prescription drug that was originally approved for moderate-to-severe pain relief. It works by binding with opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which helps relieve pain by blocking pain signals from the nerves to the brain.
Buprenorphine binds with opioid receptors in the body, causing feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
Are Buprenorphine and Tramadol interchangeable?
No. Buprenorphine and Tramadol are not interchangeable because they work differently on different parts of our body's opioid system.
How Does Buprenorphine Effect the Body?
Buprenorphine's effects on the body are different than those of other opioids because it doesn't activate opioid receptors. It binds to them and blocks other opioids from binding. This prevents symptoms of withdrawal and reduces cravings by activating the reward pathway in the brain without activating areas involved in addiction.
What are the Side Effects of Buprenorphine?
The side effects of Buprenorphine include:
- Nausea and upset stomach
- Painful tongue
- Fainting or dizziness
- Numb mouth
- Trouble concentrating
- Respiratory depression
Buprenorphine is a medication that can be used to help people get off opioids. The adverse effects of buprenorphine are not as severe as other opioid withdrawal medications.
Is Buprenorphine Addictive?
Yes. Because of buprenorphine's opioid effects, it may be misused or abused by taking more than a prescribed dose or by taking it without a prescription at all. Unfortunately, some addicts will sell their buprenorphine and others buy buprenorphine.
A person can also become physically addicted to Buprenorphine in the same way that opiates cause physical dependence.
Naloxone is added to buprenorphine to decrease the chances for misuse of the combination of the drug product.
An opioid dependence develops when the person becomes dependent on the drug to feel "normal" and may need a higher buprenorphine dose to achieve the same affects.
What are Buprenorphine Withdrawal Symptoms?
Buprenorphine symptoms of withdrawal can be very unpleasant and can result in death if not treated. Buprenorphine should only be prescribed with caution, and it should never be taken without medical supervision.
- Muscle aches/Body Aches
- Digestive distress
- Drug cravings
- Concentration difficulties
Tell your doctor right away if you are experiencing any acute withdrawal symptoms. Medically supervised withdrawal may be necessary to treat the withdrawal effects of buprenorphine.
Addiction to Opioids
Addiction to opioids has a diagnosis called opioid use disorder. It is estimated that there are 2.6 million Americans who are addicted to prescription painkillers and more than 500,000 Americans who are addicted to heroin. Opioids, such as OxyContin, Vicodin and morphine, are powerful drugs that can produce feelings of euphoria and reduce pain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there were over 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016 alone. This number has increased by more than 20% since 2015. The majority of these overdoses were caused by opioids, with over 33,000 opioid-related deaths occurring in 2016 alone.
Opioid overdoses are often fatal because they suppress breathing to such an extent that the brain does not receive enough oxygen to function properly.
Can I Use Buprenorphine with Other Drugs?
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) warns drug interactions can cause adverse buprenorphine affects that could be fatal, even at low to moderate doses. The use of buprenorphine combined with additional drugs may lead to fatal respiratory depression and death.
Can I Overdose on Buprenorphine?
Yes. Buprenorphine has been associated with misuse and overdose, particularly when taken with benzodiazepines, alcohol, or other central nervous system depressants. Do not use illegal drugs, drink alcohol, or take sedatives, tranquilizers, or other drugs that slow breathing. Mixing large amounts of other medications with buprenorphine can lead to overdose or death.
When taking buprenorphine, it is important to follow the directions on the prescription label. This includes not taking more than prescribed and not taking it in combination with alcohol or benzodiazepines.
Substance Abuse Treatment at Turning Point of Tampa
Substance abuse treatment for opioid use disorders or other addictive disorders is possible with the right team of health care providers. Treatment often includes counseling, support groups and a 12-step program.
Treatment of opioid use disorder involves combining individual care with participation in group therapy sessions and educational lectures. Turning Point of Tampa helps clients understand their illness as well as the underlying issues that accompany it.
Turning Point of Tampa also specializes in co-occurring disorders or mental health challenges that an individual may struggle with alongside their addiction. These include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders. Turning Point of Tampa provides specialized treatment for addiction and eating disorders, for example.
Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive, uncontrolled drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.
Drug addiction can be caused by a person’s genetic makeup, the environment they grew up in, stressful situations in their life, and drug availability and exposure to drugs.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be prescribed to patients with chronic pain. Fentanyl is a powerful painkiller that is made from morphine, and it’s often used for people who have chronic pain.
Fentanyl was first developed in the 1960s as an intravenous anesthetic, but doctors soon discovered that it was too strong for use in humans. It became popular among doctors as a way to treat pain in people who are terminally ill or who have cancer.
Hydrocodone is a prescription drug that is used as a painkiller. Hydrocodone is a narcotic analgesic, which means that it reduces the intensity of pain. It is also used to treat other symptoms such as coughing and diarrhea. Hydrocodone works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, which decreases the perception of pain.
Meperidine is a narcotic analgesic of the opiate type. It was developed in Germany in 1937 and came into use in 1947. It has actions and uses similar to those of morphine, but its duration of action is much shorter. The drug was originally marketed under the brand name Demerol by Burroughs Welcome & Company.