Buprenorphine (more commonly known as Suboxone, Zubsolv, Bunavail, and Subutex) is a medication that offers those addicted to opiates, such as prescription pain-killers and heroin, a safe way to manage detox symptoms and decrease the chances of relapse.

It has proven extremely effective, especially in conjunction with cognitive therapy and as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

The most common question we are asked is, "How long will I have to take Buprenorphine?" The answer is - that is between you, your doctor, and your therapist. At AWS, we encourage the lowest dose possible. However, we do recognize that addiction is a chronic disease, and, like other chronic diseases, there should be no shame in staying on medication longer term.

How Buprenorphine/Suboxone Works

Buprenorphine has unique pharmacological properties that help:

  • Lower the potential for misuse
  • Diminish the effects of physical dependency to opioids, such as withdrawal symptoms and cravings
  • Increase safety in cases of overdose

Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist. This means that, like opioids, it produces effects such as euphoria or respiratory depression. With buprenorphine, however, these effects are weaker than those of full drugs such as heroin and methadone.

Buprenorphine’s opioid effects increase with each dose until at moderate doses they level off, even with further dose increases. This “ceiling effect” lowers the risk of misuse, dependency, and side effects. Also, because of buprenorphine’s long-acting agent, many patients may not have to take it every day.

Suboxone is an FDA approved medication used in the treatment of opiate addiction. Suboxone comes in the form of a sublingual film and includes two ingredients, buprenorphine and naloxone in a 4:1 ratio. Buprenorphine is a partial-agonist which only has a limited opioid effect. Buprenorphine competes with the full-agonist opioids (such as morphine and heroin) for the opioid receptor. Buprenorphine has an exceptionally strong binding ability which displaces existing opioids and prevents others from attaching to the receptor.

This is important because treatment can eliminate craving and withdrawal allowing you to think and function normally. Dr. Goyal will help determine the right course of treatment for you.