Buprenorphine is used to treat opioid addiction and is classified as a semi-synthetic opioid. Buprenorphine is extracted from the poppy Papaver Somniferum. Buprenorphine was first released in the 1980s as a narcotic painkiller and is now used managing withdrawal from Heroin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Morphine.
Buprenorphine acts as an opiate blocker preventing the euphoric effects of opiate drugs. The brand names for Buprenorphine are Subtex, Butrans, Temgesic and Transtec.
Buprenorphine as an Anti-Depressant
Buprenorphine can be used as an antidepressant for patients who suffer from severe depression and are unresponsive to traditional anti-depressants.
Buprenorphine Side Effects Include:
- Dry mouth
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Difficulty with ejaculation
- Decreased libido
- Urinary retention
Buprenorphine does not produce euphoria and it has a half-life of 37 hours. Buprenorphine occupies the mu and delta opiate receptors leaving the kappa receptor unoccupied and capable of receiving endorphins. If all 3 opiate receptors are occupied, endorphins cannot be formed which leads to tolerance and dependence.
Three Phases of Buprenorphine Administration
- Phase 1: This phase includes eliminating withdrawal symptoms of various opiates.
- Phase 2:The second phase, or stabilization phase, involves a dose reduction due to the absence of cravings and opiate withdrawal symptoms.
- Phase 3: In this phase the patient has remained on a low, steady dose. Alternatively, patients would undergo medically supervised withdrawal.
Buprenorphine can be used to counter drug addiction and can be administered intravenously, through a patch or orally. Medical professional advise tapering off Buprenorphine to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Buprenorphine Withdrawal Symptoms Include:
Overdose of Buprenorphine is extremely rare but can occur if mixed with anti-depressants, alcohol, benzodiazepines, GHB and other central nervous system drugs.