Buprenorphine is one of three medications commonly used in treatment for opioid addiction. There are two forms available, Suboxone®, which contains both buprenorphine and naloxone, and Subutex®, which contains buprenorphine only. When used in combination with counseling and support from family and friends, opioid addiction treatment can have great results.


Opioids are medications that relieve pain by reducing the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain. These signals affect brain areas controlling emotion, thus diminishing the effects of a painful stimulus. Heroin is an illegal opioid, made from the opium poppy. Other legal synthetic opioids exist, including codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine (Avinza, Kadian), and oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin). These are all prescribed for different conditions, ranging from mild pain to severe pain, dental and injury-related pain, and after surgical procedures. While these medications can be helpful for certain situations, people can easily become tolerant on them, which can lead to dependence, and ultimately addiction.


Tolerance to opioids means the person needs more of the drug in order to obtain its intended effects. Taking more of the drugs can lead to dependence, meaning discontinued use will lead to the person feeling sick, or experiencing withdrawal. When dependence gets really bad, it can turn into an addiction. Having cravings for the drug and being unable to control using it may signify an addiction. Anyone using an opiate properly likely will not develop an addiction, but it is always a possibility.


Opioid addiction is a serious disease that can cause major damage. It cannot be cured, but it can be managed with proper treatment. Many treatments will include the use of medication to help curb any negative side effects the patient may experience. Buprenorphine, the commonly used medication for opioid treatment, is a ligand, which works by binding to central nervous system nerve receptors through reversible mechanisms based on chemical principles.


Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from thebaine, an alkaloid of the poppy Papaver somniferum. As a partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine can change the effects of opioids by causing:


  • less euphoria and physical dependence
  • lower potential for misuse
  • a ceiling on opioid effects
  • relatively mild withdrawal profile


It can also suppress symptoms of opioid withdrawal, decrease cravings, and help patients stay in treatment. Dealing with addiction is difficult, so be sure to take treatment seriously, as it can truly help.                                                                 Treatment Now has recovery professionals available to answer any questions involving addiction, so call today.

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