Buprenorphine Treatment & Maintenance
Office Based Therapy for Patients with Opioid Dependence
Buprenorphine (byoo-pruh-nor-feen) is the first medication for opioid maintenance and detoxification that private practice physicians can dispense in their office. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist that blocks the effects of other opioids. Buprenorphine interacts in similar, but significantly different ways, at the same mu receptors in the brain where heroin, methadone, and prescription pain relievers such as Oxycontin initiate their effects. This distinctive pharmacology gives buprenorphine its safety margin and low potential for diversion. It eliminates the major motivation for opioid abuse by preventing withdrawal symptoms and it produces less stimulation and physical dependence than full agonists. It is available in two forms, alone (Subutex®) or with naloxone (Suboxone®) and it is administered sublingually (under the tongue).
Benefits of Buprenorphine:
- Patients do not need to go to a methadone clinic to receive Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is prescribed in a doctor’s office, is dispensed in local pharmacies, and can be taken at home as a sublingual pill.
- Milder withdrawal and detoxification process.
- Eliminates cravings and prevents withdrawal symptoms such as pain and nausea by blocking the effects of other opiates.
- Long lasting. Once maintained, the frequency of prescription is determined by the physician and can vary from weekly to monthly, depending on the patient’s needs.
- Safer than heroin or traditional prescription opiates; buprenorphine alone is unlikely to result in an overdose. Like methadone, buprenorphine reduces the craving for opiates and permits productive living. But buprenorphine has a ceiling effect, which means there is less likelihood of abuse or of an overdose.
- Reduced health risks, especially those related to IV drug use, such as HIV and hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses, skin infections and vein problems.
- Lower risk profile than methadone.
- Maintenance treatment provides emotional stability, providing an opportunity to address psychosocial problems.
To make a referral or for more information about the program, please call us at 808-249-8887.
- Buprenorphine Treatment Information from The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) http://www.nida.nih.gov/NIDA_Notes/NNVol10N1/Bupren.html
- MedlinePlus – A Service of the US National Library of Medicine http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/medmaster/a605002.html
- The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment www.naabt.org/links.cfm
- Suboxone Website www.suboxone.com
- Certification in Addiction Medicine www.abam.net