What is Buprenorphine?
An Effective Yet Potentially Addictive Treatment Medication
Buprenorphine is an opioid antagonist and the most common medication currently used to treat opioid and alcohol addiction in the US today. It is a particularly useful drug because it is able to not only curb opioid cravings, but also prevent the user from being able to feel the full effects of the drugs. In some cases, buprenorphine is able to reverse the effects of an overdose. It is the main component in a number of different medications including Suboxone and is quickly becoming standard issue for paramedics and EMTs across the country because of this.
Buprenorphine can be a beneficial and practical option for opioid addiction because it:
- Reduces cravings for opioids such as heroin or prescription painkillers
- Impedes opioid receptors, preventing users from feeling the effects of drugs
- Is less likely to become habit forming
- Is covered by insurance benefits
How Does Buprenorphine Work?
Reducing Cravings and Symptoms
Buprenorphine binds to the brain’s opioid receptors and prevents the stimulation of the reward system from responding to opioids. This renders patients unable to feel the euphoric effects of any opioids, eliminating any incentive to attempt to get high. Buprenorphine has only been shown to be effective in treating opioid addiction with no evidence showing that it may help with addictions to other drugs. It is the most commonly prescribed drug in detox centers because of its ability to reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms.