Buprenorphine, also known as suboxone or subutex, was first marketed in the 1980’s by Reckitt and Colman. It was first introduced onto the market as an analgesic available in sublingual tablets and an injectable formula. In October of 2002 the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Buprenorphine for the treatment of opiate addiction and dependency. It was marketed under the names suboxone or subutex and is predominantly used for detoxification from opiate addictions such as heroin and oxycontin. The European Union didn’t approve suboxone for the treatment of opiate addiction until 2006. Europe also uses Buprenorphine for the treatment of chronic pain.
Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid that is used to treat opiate addiction. It is also used to treat moderate pain in individuals who have no opiate tolerance. Buprenorphine is synthetic compound derived from the poppy plant, or Papaver somniferum. In the United States the DEA has Buprenorphine classified as a schedule III drug. This prohibits using or buying the drug without a legal prescription from a doctor.
Buprenorphine is a synthetic opioid predominantly used for the detoxification and treatment of individuals who suffer from a dependence on opiates. While it is widely prescribed for the treatment of opiate addiction, the drug is commonly used recreationally. Suboxone is commonly used sublingually; users let the pill dissolve underneath their tongue. Suboxone is four parts Buprenorphine and one part naloxone. Naloxone is used to deter the use of Suboxone intravenously. Subutex, which is pure Buprenorphine and does not have the presence of naloxone can be used intravenously by individuals abusing the drug. In countries such as Sweden and Finland, illegal use or Buprenorphine surpasses that of many other street level narcotics combined. While Buprenorphine is manufactured to treat addiction, it is often abused recreationally.
Recreational users of Buprenorphine find that the pill produces a euphoric high similar to that of the other commonly abused opiates. Those who have already taken Buprenorphine or have built a tolerance to opiates may find the effects less gratifying. Regardless of the recreational experience, Buprenorphine will help an individual to detox from opiate addiction with much less discomfort. The drug attaches to the opiate receptors mimicking the normal opiate the individual would take. Buprenorphine is ideal for weaning off of another opiate while receiving rehabilitation or help for drug addiction. When taken as prescribed the drug has little euphoric value.
Similar drugs to Buprenorphine are other synthetic opioids such as Oxy Contin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, and Morphine. Other potent opiates such as Heroin and Opium may share some of the same recreational qualities as Buprenorphine.
Buprenorphine is used to treat addiction to opiate and opioid dependency but has been recreationally abused since its debut on the market. Recreational users of Buprenorphine experience the same type of withdrawal symptoms that may occur from heroin abuse after the drug has been used for an extended period of time. Users may become dependent and physically addicted to Buprenorphine. This type of abuse happens in the United States but is much more common in European countries where the drug is widely misused.
Abuse of Buprenorphine can lead to withdrawal symptoms that are comparable to those from other opiate or opioids. Abuse of Buprenorphine can lead to body pain, headache, cold sweats, insomnia, and emotional disturbances such as depression and rapid change of mood.
While uncommon, it is possible to overdose from Buprenorphine. Similar to other opiates, a large dose of Buprenorphine can depress and shut down the respiratory system, resulting in overdose and possible death. Overdose is very rare but can be perpetuated when Buprenorphine is mixed with other drugs such as benzos or alcohol.