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Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it's an opioid medicine with only a weak opioid action. This implies that buprenorphine lowers withdrawal symptoms and cravings without having the same long-term effects as other opioids (such as heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and so on), making it simpler to quit using your opioid of choice. 1
Because of its high binding affinity, it may prevent other opioids from attaching to and activating your opioid receptors, potentially reducing opioid misuse.
Buprenorphine, as a partial agonist, has an upper limit to its opioid effects, even at higher doses. Because your opioid receptors can only be triggered so much, the risk of abuse and overdose from misuse is lower than with other opioids. This reduces the risk of respiratory depression (slow, hazardous breathing), which is a major hazard and symptom of opioid overdose.
Suboxone and similar generic combination formulations contain naloxone, an opioid receptor antagonist, in addition to buprenorphine. Though naloxone is used alone to reverse the deadly effects of opioid overdose, it is included in this combination to help prevent intentional misuse of buprenorphine if it is dissolved and injected or inhaled nasally—doing so would cause opioid dependent individuals to experience rapid withdrawal symptoms.
While Suboxone is an effective medicine for opioid addiction, it is frequently used as part of a multifaceted treatment plan that includes not only pharmaceuticals but also behavioral therapies, peer support groups, and, if necessary, treatment for co-occurring mental health issues (like depression or anxiety).
Opioid abuse is quite common and can be fatal. In 2016, at least 2.1 million Americans aged 12 and up had opioid use disorder, and almost 47,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2017. Opioid use disorder is a relapsing chronic illness that can be treated by family physicians. Patients who receive proper medication-assisted treatment are more likely to make a full recovery. Methadone and buprenorphine are opioid agonists that help people stay in treatment longer and reduce mortality, opioid usage, and HIV and hepatitis C virus transmission. Because of the need to abstain for roughly one week before the first dose, intramuscular naltrexone is less well studied and more difficult to start than opioid agonists. Those who begin using naltrexone, on the other hand, may notice a reduction in their opiate use and cravings. The optimal drug for a given patient is determined by the patient's preferences, the availability of opioid treatment programs in the area, the expected effectiveness, and the potential for side effects. Because stopping medication increases the chance of relapse, patients should be encouraged to stay on treatment forever. Many individuals with opioid use disorder are treated in primary care settings, where they can receive successful addiction treatment. Family doctors are in a unique position to diagnose opioid use disorder, provide evidence-based treatment with buprenorphine or naltrexone, send patients for methadone if necessary, and lead the response to the present opioid crisis.
Patients are more likely to achieve full recovery with the use of suitable drugs, which includes the ability to make self-directed choices, contribute to family and community, and attain one's full potential.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a number of drugs for opioid use disorder.
Treatments for opioid use disorder include oral methadone, sublingual buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), sublingual buprenorphine (Subutex), buprenorphine implants (Probuphine), injectable long-acting buprenorphine (Sublocade), and intramuscular long-acting naltrexone (Vivitrol). The US Food and Drug Administration has approved buprenorphine for patients aged 16 and up, while methadone and naltrexone have been approved for individuals aged 18 and up 22.