Definition: Buprenorphine is a drug, the main use of it being in the treatment of heroin addiction. It is a long-acting opiate which acts on the heroine and morphine receptor targets. However, the effects of this are not as high and dangerous as that of heroine or morphine. The poor bioavailability of the drug makes it safer even when overdose of the drug is consumed. This is the main advantage over the opioid full agonists.
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Abusive properties of buprenorphine:
Though the drug has many advantages and good things, this also has the potential of creating abusiveness. Naloxone is added to buprenorphine to reduce its potential harmfulness and abusiveness. This drug can be drug sublingually. When it is taken sublingually, the effects of buprenorphine dominate and naloxone does not bring down the opioid withdrawal syndrome in the opioid abusers.
On the other hand, if the drug is injected intravenously the effects of naloxone dominate and precipitate the opioid withdrawal syndrome. It should also be noted that buprenorphine alone can precipitate opioid withdrawal symptoms when it is used in higher dosages in between the use of opioid agonists and buprenorphine; the time gap between them being very short.
Medical properties of buprenorphine:
The drug has the medical properties of narcotics and helps in relieving pain. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has approved the buprenorphine monotherapy product which is highly recommended for treating opioid addiction. Researches have showed that buprenorphine is more effective than a placebo and has an equal effect of moderate doses of methadone in opioid maintenance therapy. The results of buprenorphine in treating heroine and morphine addiction have been very good when compared to the results of methadone use in treating opioid withdrawal syndrome. It is for this reason that the FDA has approved buprenorphine to be used as an effective drug to treat opioid addiction.