Buprenorphine ® is a synthetic narcotic analgesic used to manage from chronic moderate to acute pain, and for perioperative conditions.

The analgesic comes in two forms – tablets and a transdermal patch. Those who misuse the drug often inject it intravenously or inhale the crushed tablets through the nose. Strong warnings urge users not to crush, chew or inject the sublingual tablets.

Buprenorphine Uses

Buprenorphine ® comes in tablet (sublingual) and transdermal patch form, although some misuse includes intravenous injection and nasal inhalation of crushed tablets. Injectable formulation comes under the brand name of Buprenex for the treatment of pain.

An opioid narcotic, Buprenorphine is used to treat opiate dependence but can also become addictive.

Buprenorphine works by attaching to the receptors in the brain and nervous system. It helps prevent withdrawal symptoms in those who have stopped taking other narcotics like OxyContin or heroin.

Buprenorphine Side Effects

Those who are allergic to any ingredient in Buprenorphine should not take it. You should also avoid taking the drug if you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB). Buprenorphine should not be taken with alcohol or while taking other medications that cause drowsiness.

Children under 16 should not take Buprenorphine and caution should be taken with elderly users who may be more sensitive to the effects. The elderly should watch for signs of decreased breathing and drowsiness. It is also thought to be harmful to fetuses and could be passed on in breast milk.

Possible side effects include:

  • Chills
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Weakness

Severe side effects reported include:

  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • severe allergic reaction
  • anxiety
  • nervousness
  • dark urine
  • mood or mental changes
  • Pale stools
  • slow and shallow breathing

Serious complications or death could result from taking Buprenorphine with central nervous system depressants such as tranquilizers and sedatives.

Buprenorphine Withdrawals

For those who stop taking Buprenorphine suddenly, withdrawal symptoms could include:

  • anxiety
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • goose bumps
  • abnormal skin sensations
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • pain
  • rigid muscles
  • rapid heartbeat
  • shivering
  • tremors
  • sweating and insomnia.

Buprenorphine Abuse

Some have reported hallucinations; seeing, hearing and feeling things that were not there. Suboxone, which contains Buprenorphine, is available in 2 mg and 8 mg doses. The drug is used recreationally by opiate addicts and can cause feelings of euphoria and increased talking.

Because of the addictive nature of opiates including Buprenorphine, Suboxone, Fentanyl, Methadone and OxyContin, extreme care should be taken when prescribed. Unfortunately, the illicit drug trade and black market for such products makes them all the more dangerous.

Buprenorphine should never be taken without a valid prescription. Taking more than the recommended dose could result in an overdose. Please seek help immediately if you experience shallow breathing, extreme drowsiness or unusual dizziness.

Using an opiate to treat an opiate addiction may work for some, but is not effective for everyone. Detoxing from narcotics can cause extreme anxiety and withdrawal symptoms if not approached properly. Medically-supervised detox programs are often recommended to help wean users from dangerous opiates.

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