What’s the Difference between Subutex and Suboxone?

You may have heard of Subutex or Suboxone in news reports about addiction, but they are two very different drugs. So what’s the difference between Subutex and Suboxone? They are both forms of buprenorphine, which is an opioid drug similar to methadone that suppresses cravings for heroin or other opioids. Buprenorphine is only available in its pure form in two brands: Butrans (skin patch) and Norspan (transdermal gel). But they can be dissolved into liquid form so they can be injected if need be.

Naloxone was combined with buprenorphine to deter abuse of the medication. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means that it blocks the effects of opioids at the receptor sites. If someone injects Suboxone, the person will immediately go into precipitated withdrawal, which can be distressing.

They are similar but main difference between the 2 is that Suboxone contains both buprenorphine and naloxone, whereas Subutex has only buprenorphine. While both drugs were developed at around the same time, Subutex was formulated first and while it was found to be relatively effective in the treatment of opiate addiction, there was still a tendency to abuse the drug. Many users sought to inject the drug intravenously in order to obtain the high they had become accustomed to with heroin or prescription painkillers. They often succeeded in doing so, giving rise to the need to develop another drug to address this issue: Suboxone.

both of which were approved by the FDA in 2002, are drugs developed for the treatment of opiate addiction. Prior to 2000 when the Drug Addiction Treatment Act was passed, the primary medication to treat opiate addictions was methadone. In 2000, however, burprenorphine was approved in the law, and it could be prescribed by physicians who have been trained and certified by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to treat opioid addiction. The main difference is that Suboxone contains both buprenorphine and naloxone, whereas Subutex contains only buprenorphine.

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