Buprenorphine Treatment

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Defining Buprenorphine Treatment

Buprenorphine, technically speaking is a partial opioid agonist which is potent enough to produce typical opioid agonist effects and a cluster of side effects ranging from respiratory depression to euphoria. Being an opioid and a derivative of the poppy plant, Buprenorphine has properties similar to those of full opioid agonists (widely known as narcotics) like heroin, morphine etc. The effects of Buprenorphine even at the maximum level do not compete with the likes of heroin and morphine which are full agonists, and therefore, it is considered to be a milder drug. It is due to this mildness of the drug that it is used in drug addiction therapy of the stronger opioids like heroin etc. This is one reason that Buprenorphine is the newest medication in the drug treatment toolkit and the evidence available from various Buprenorphine studies and clinical experience of various experts in drug treatment using the particular drug has been quite convincing.

The Buprenorphine treatment program administers the drug to the individual in higher doses in order to treat the debilitating opioid dependence. When Buprenorphine is administered to an individual, it acts on the same receptors as that of Heroin and Morphine. Upon the activation of these opioid receptors, the individual undergoes the same high, but not of the same intensity and euphoric state as induced by stronger opioids. Partaking of this drug helps the person relieve himself of drug cravings without actually resorting to the stronger drug. This forms the basis of the Buprenorphine treatment program.

When heroin is consumed by an individual (by any method), the opioid receptors in the brain are fully activated which in case of Buprenorphine remain only partially activated. It is due to the fully activated receptors that individuals feel a surge of euphoric sensation within the body and the central nervous system. The body becomes immensely dependent on the intense high and the euphoric sensation so much so that if the drug is not consumed, the individual goes through terrible physical and mental pain. What Buprenorphine does is it substitutes for the stronger opioids and curbs the withdrawal symptoms making the addiction program much easier. Some other recovery programs are Dual Diagnosis Treatment, Luxury Rehab, Drug Free Pain Management, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy etc.

How Buprenorphine Treatment Can Help

Buprenorphine is a safer and much secure way of drug treatment when compared to other opioids like Methadone used for the same purpose. The likelihood of respiratory depression from the usage of Buprenorphine is less when compared to other drugs belonging to the same cluster; moreover, there is no evidence of organ dysfunction or cognitive or psychomotor disruption due to a prolonged usage of Buprenorphine when compared to similar drugs like Methadone.

The agonist effects of Buprenorphine do not increase with increasing dosage until after a certain point i.e. after reaching a plateau at moderate doses. This is called as the ceiling effect because of which even after more doses the effect of the drug doesn’t increase. It is due to this effect that Buprenorphin has lower risk of addiction, abuse and lesser side effects when compared with full opioid agonists. Buprenorphine also has poor bioavailability because of which it proves to be safer in a situation of overdose than full agonists.

Another way in which the Buprenorphine treatment is helpful is the ease of therapy involved when compared to Methadone. Methadone clinics, most often, are often located in remote and inconvenient areas which aren’t easily accessible and the fact that Methadone treatment requires daily visits to the clinic; it makes rehabilitation a major hassle. Buprenorphine treatment on the other hand does not require daily visits to the doctor. Moreover, inpatient therapy is required only for a short while initially, post which i.e. after being stabilized on the medication, the patient is only required to visit the doctor once a month at convenient timings.


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