Buprenorphine is also an opioid that attaches to opioid receptors. … Suboxone has a few advantages over other medications used to treat opioid addiction, such as methadone. Buprenorphine is thought to have less respiratory effects (and even cause withdrawal symptoms) at high doses, reducing the risk of overdose.
Buprenorphine offers several benefits to those with opioid dependency and to others for whom treatment in a methadone clinic is not preferred or is less convenient. The FDA has approved the following buprenorphine products:
How Buprenorphine Works
Buprenorphine has unique pharmacological properties that help:
Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist. This means that, like opioids, it produces effects such as euphoria or respiratory depression. With buprenorphine, however, these effects are weaker than those of full drugs such as heroin and methadone.
Buprenorphine’s opioid effects increase with each dose until at moderate doses they level off, even with further dose increases. This “ceiling effect” lowers the risk of misuse, dependency, and side effects. Also, because of buprenorphine’s long-acting agent, many patients may not have to take it every day.
Side Effects of Buprenorphine
Buprenorphine’s side effects are similar to those of opioids and can include:
People should use the following precautions when taking buprenorphine: