Buprenorphine is used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help people reduce or quit their use of heroin or other opiates, such as pain relievers like morphine.
Approved for clinical use in October 2002 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), buprenorphine represents the latest advance in medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Medications such as buprenorphine, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of opioid dependency. When taken as prescribed, buprenorphine is safe and effective.
Unlike methadone treatment, which must be performed in a highly structured clinic, buprenorphine is the first medication to treat opioid dependency (see below) that is permitted to be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing treatment access. Under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000), qualified U.S. physicians can offer buprenorphine for opioid dependency in various settings, including in an office, community hospital, health department, or correctional facility. Learn more about SAMHSA’s buprenorphine waiver management.
SAMHSA-certified opioid treatment programs (OTPs) also are allowed to offer buprenorphine, but only are permitted to dispense treatment.
As with all medications used in MAT, buprenorphine is prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and participation in social support programs.
If you have not sought counseling we can refer to someone or our counselor (Kim Blend ARNP) is uniquely trained to assist you with some of your support needs. Additionally suncoast narcotics anonymous offers others froms of support. The need for the patient to seek some counseling can not be overstated.
Buprenorphine offers several benefits to those with opioid dependency and to others for whom treatment in a methadone clinic is not preferred or is less convenient. The FDA has approved the following buprenorphine products:
Bunavail (buprenorphine and naloxone) buccal film
Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) film
Zubsolv (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual tablets
People should use the following precautions when taking buprenorphine:
Do not take other medications without first consulting your doctor.
Do not use illegal drugs, drink alcohol, or take sedatives, tranquilizers, or other drugs that slow breathing. Mixing large amounts of other medications with buprenorphine can lead to overdose or death.
Do ensure that a physician monitors any liver-related health issues that you may have.
Understanding Opioid Dependence
Opioid dependence is a disease in which there are biological or physical, psychological, and social changes. Some of the physical changes include the need for increasing amounts of opioid to produce the same effect, symptoms of withdrawal, feelings of craving, and changes in sleep patterns. Psychological components of opioid dependence include a reliance on heroin or opioids. The social components of opioid dependence include less frequent contact with important people in your life, and an inability to participate in important events due to drug use. In extreme cases, there may even be criminal and legal implications.
The hallmarks of opioid dependence are the continued use of drugs despite their negative affect, the need for increasing amounts of opioids to have the same effect and the development of withdrawal symptoms upon cessation.
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the continued use of opioids. Among these are the use of heroin to escape from or cope with problems, the need to use increasing amounts of heroin or other narcotics to achieve the same effect, and the need for a “high.”
Treatment for opioid dependence is best considered a long-term process.
Recovery from opioid dependence is not an easy or painless process, as it involves changes in drug use and lifestyle, such as adopting new coping skills. Recovery can involve hard work, commitment, discipline, and a willingness to examine the effects of opioid dependence on your life. At first, it isn’t unusual to feel impatient, angry, or frustrated. The changed you need to make will depend on how opioid dependence has specifically affected your life. The following are some of the common areas of change to think about when developing your specific recovery plan:
Physical – good nutrition, exercise, sleep and relaxation
Emotional – learning to cope with feelings, problems, stresses, and negative thinking without relying on opioids.
Social – developing relationships with sober people, learning to resist pressures from others to use or misuse substances, and developing healthy social and leisure interests to occupy your time and give you a sense of satisfaction and pleasure.
Family – examining the impact opioid dependence has had on your family, encouraging them to get involved in your treatment, mending relationships with family members, and working hard to have mutually satisfying relationships with family members.
Spiritual – learning to listen to your inner voice for support and strength, and using that voice to guide you in developing a renewed sense of purpose and meaning.
During the treatment process, SUBOXONE will help you avoid many or all of the physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal. These typically include craving, restlessness, poor sleep, irritability, yawning, muscle cramps, runny nose, fearing, goose flesh, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Your doctor may prescribe other medications for you as necessary to help relieve these symptoms.
You should be careful not to respond to these withdrawal symptoms by losing patience with the treatment process and thinking that the symptoms can only be corrected by using drugs. To help you deal with the symptoms of withdrawal, you should try to set small goals and work towards them.