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Buprenorphine is a prescription medication with a unique and fascinating pharmacology that is described as “high affinity, low intrinsic activity, and slow dissociation”. What this means is that buprenorphine has a good safety profile, because it has low risk of physical dependence. It also allows a bit of flexibility in terms of dose scheduling—but it is highly recommended that you stick with your doctor’s prescription.
What is this drug for? Buprenorphine is actually used for the treatment of opioid dependence, using its sublingual solution formulation. It only gets more interesting as you realize that buprenorphine itself is an opioid, and therefore carries its own risk of addiction and dependence.
What sets buprenorphine apart is that people are less likely to abuse it because you need very high doses to get high on this drug. It blocks the opioid receptors in the process, tricking the brain into believing you’ve taken enough opioids, thereby limiting the withdrawal effects.
Buprenorphine is commonly taken as a part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. It has repeatedly demonstrated its effectiveness when it comes to opioid dependence treatment. This prescription medication decreases abuse potential.
The keyword here is “decrease” because it does not eliminate the abuse potential entirely, and even presents a risk of its own. You still can get high on this drug, if you take large doses, or if you take it too frequently. So how does one take this drug properly?
How to Use Buprenorphine Right
While there is general agreement that buprenorphine is safe to use, this statement comes with the understanding that the drug must be used properly in order to get the most out of it while also avoiding its risks.
With this in mind, we can say that buprenorphine isn’t so different from other opioids after all. Opioids are also helpful medications. Their addictive side only comes out when you abuse them. Buprenorphine is the same thing, except it will take a lot of it to get you high, and even more to get you addicted.
The general rule is to follow your doctor’s instructions. Do not take larger doses than you are supposed to, and do not take it more often than is prescribed. Dosing is possible on a less-than-daily schedule.
Never crush a tablet or other pill to mix into a liquid. Never dilute it and inject it into your bloodstream. Recreational drug users do this to experience a much more intense high. But this is also very dangerous as it can easily cause adverse health effects. This practice has resulted in death with the misuse of buprenorphine and similar prescription drugs.
Do not drink alcohol. It increases some of the side effects of buprenorphine. Do not take larger doses than you are supposed to, and do not take it more often than is advised.
Using too much of this medication can lead to addiction, and even physical dependence. Taking it along with alcohol can lead to death.
If the patient is addicted to opioids, buprenorphine will probably be prescribed to gradually lower their dosage and wean them off the original addictive substance. This process is done during drug detox and is performed under the supervision of trained medical personnel. Using buprenorphine qualifies as a form of opioid replacement therapy.
Buprenorphine, just like other prescription medications, is a helpful drug with plenty of benefits—but it is dangerous when misused.
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Let’s start with the basic information. What is buprenorphine? This is a pain medication used in the treatment of opioid withdrawal.
If you or someone you love is addicted to opioids, look for a drug treatment center near you. Sobriety is possible, even though the addiction treatment process will prove to be challenging. Get on the path to recovery today.