Buprenorphine is a partial agonist that blocks off opioids by attaching to the same opioid receptors in the brain. It’s a partial agonist that exhibits a ceiling effect at high doses. This means that there is a plateau observed for its opioid agonist effects. You can expect it to cause less sedative effects. It also has a low risk of causing respiratory depression.
This drug is a well-suited medication for opioid replacement therapy due to its activity as a partial opioid agonist. It can be substituted for full agonists such as heroin or morphine. This is supposed to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
In addition to this effect, you can also withdraw from buprenorphine without significant discomfort—something that is more commonly associated with methadone.
Interestingly, buprenorphine itself is an opioid, meaning it is a synthetic substance derived from the opium poppy plant. It is therefore classified as a narcotic.
How is it Used?
Studies and trials have established buprenorphine as an effective treatment for opioid dependence. It is safe and effective for use in acute detoxification, stabilization, and long-term maintenance of people who are struggling with opioid dependence.
Buprenorphine is intended for sublingual administration. It is currently used in dozens of countries all over the world due to its safety profile and effectiveness.
Can it be Abused?
A non-opioid dependent individual who takes buprenorphine will experience the euphoric effects that are typically associated with stronger opioids.
It can exhibit positive-reinforcement properties, which means the risk is still there: it can be abused by people who want to take it recreationally. Studies have shown that people who received buprenorphine were more likely to self-administer another dose.
Despite its benefits and low risk of abuse, the possibility is still there. However, this abuse liability is still considered moderate compared to morphine and full opioid agonists.
Furthermore, those who are already opioid-dependent have an even lower risk of buprenorphine abuse. This is because of its properties as a high-affinity partial agonist. Opioid dependent individuals will likely experience withdrawal symptoms that are much more manageable.
So in conclusion, if you are already addicted or dependent on opioids, you are not likely to get addicted to buprenorphine. It will instead help you get over your addiction by replacing your substance of choice and gradually lowering your dosage. This process is called medical detox, and eventually even buprenorphine will be taken out of your system completely.
Do take note that buprenorphine works best as a part of a comprehensive drug addiction treatment plan. Medical professionals will be able to take care of you during the withdrawal stage, which you will go through.
If you are not opioid dependent, then there’s a chance that you will get addicted to this drug if you take it in large doses, or take it more frequently than you are supposed to.
Can It Get You High?
The answer to this is yes—it can. This may sound surprising, knowing that the drug is intended to help stop people from getting high. Not only does buprenorphine induce euphoria when taken in large doses, but it can also be abused. And when someone abuses this drug, they are at risk of developing addiction.
Buprenorphine, as helpful as it is, is still an opioid. These narcotics are at their most helpful when taken exactly as prescribed. Anything beyond that can lead to adverse effects.
Some drug users do take buprenorphine to experience euphoria. The longer they take this drug, the higher the chance of becoming addicted—same as with other drugs. Even if this drug removes the original opioid from the person’s system, if they continue taking buprenorphine, they can develop a new addiction. Some even dissolve the tablet in water and inject it directly into their bloodstream to increase the intensity of the high.
Just because you can get high on this drug, doesn’t mean you should. If you know someone who is abusing buprenorphine, or any other narcotic substance, look for an addiction treatment center near you. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy may be necessary to eliminate the effects of addiction altogether.
How Doest It Work In The Brain?
Buprenorphine is able to suppress the debilitating symptoms caused by opioid withdrawal. It also suppresses the intense cravings experienced after abruptly quitting a drug. This makes the addiction treatment process much more bearable—as it is generally known to be a challenging endeavor.
Buprenorphine helps patients properly engage in therapy, counseling, and support. This allows them to implement positive lifestyle changes, slowly yet surely. This medication therefore improves the patient’s chances of making long-lasting changes and leaving their addictive behavior behind.
Medications like Subutex and Suboxone use buprenorphine as their main active ingredient, and they all function similarly: making withdrawal symptoms more manageable to help patients achieve sustained addiction remission.
On this article, we will discuss buprenorphine: what it is, and how it works in the brain.
How Long Does it Stay in your System?
The reason we’re discussing this is that many people taking buprenorphine may be concerned with how long it will stay in their system. The length of time depends on a number of factors, and the half-life is just one of them. Buprenorphine has an especially long elimination half-life compared to other opioids.
That’s what makes it so effective as a part of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan. It stays attached to opioid receptors for up to 3 days. This means it can block all other opioid effects from coming in for that same amount of time. Drug users can’t get high on their opioid of choice, because buprenorphine is already taking up its space.
At the same time, the mind is tricked into thinking it has received the same amount of opioids. This makes withdrawal much easier to deal with. The process of detox is slow and gradual, and medications like buprenorphine make it possible.
It takes the body almost two full days to excrete 50% of the buprenorphine in a dose of Suboxone (a drug that contains buprenorphine as its main active ingredient). Other variables can change the length of time that buprenorphine remains in your system.
A person’s age, body weight, body mass, height, genetics, hydration, liver function, metabolic rate, drug history, medical history, physical fitness, duration of use, frequency of use, presence of other drugs, etc.
Is It a Narcotic?
There’s a negative connotation behind the word “narcotic” and it’s most likely because of the legal definition of the term. In law enforcement, all mind-altering drugs are narcotics. Casually, the word is used to refer to any illegal drug. That’s why it has such a bad reputation.
But the medical industry has a more specific and more accurate definition of a narcotic. Only opiates and opioids are technically classified as narcotics. And because buprenorphine is an opioid, it is therefore a narcotic.
This only proves that most narcotics are good for you when you use them properly—emphasis on that latter part. Opiates and opioids are helpful substances that are often used as pain medications. They provide pain relief.
The only difference between opiates and opioids is that opiates are naturally derived from the opium poppy plant. Substances that are synthetic or semi-synthetic derivatives are classified as opioids.