Buprenorphine is a synthetic opioid drug that was developed by British pharmaceutical company Reckitt Benckiser in association with the U.S. Federal Government more than a decade ago. The joint venture came about because they saw a great need for some type of treatment for opiate addiction (heroin, painkillers, etc.) that was an alternative to methadone.
The first drugs produced in this category were Subutex and Suboxone. The first is primarily buprenorphine and still had a high potential for abuse due to its opioid roots. However, Suboxone also contains naloxone in it, which can counteract an opioid overdose and cause immediate withdrawal. The idea was that by including naloxone the drug would be less likely to be abused. While there certainly may be difference in the abuse potential of each drug, there is definitely still a risk with either formulation.
Suboxone was first approved for short-term use as an aid in the detox and withdrawal period, as it helps reduce the symptoms associated with opiate withdrawal and many reported it to be effective in helping that way. The drug was later approved for maintenance therapy and the number of people now taking buprenorphine as a form of opioid replacement therapy has increased exponentially.
With the explosion of the opiate epidemic in the United States, there are millions of people searching for help to get off the drugs. Unfortunately, too many are led to believe that they now must take a drug like buprenorphine as a form of long-term treatment, and possibly for the rest of their lives. For the majority of opiate-dependent people, this really doesn’t have to be the case. There are exceptions, of course, but there are plenty of rehabs out there filled with people who are trying to get OFF buprenorphine drugs like Suboxone.
The overall growth of the market has been both helped and hurt by the original patent running out and opening up for generic versions of these drugs. Now there are multiple types of buprenorphine drugs available, including those in pill form as well as dissolving strips.
If you are searching for information about buprenorphine, weigh the risks and benefits of taking the drug, and question the length of time someone tries to prescribe it. Swapping one addiction for another may be a temporary improvement, but it doesn’t completely solve the problem. You can always contact us to find drug rehabs that help people get off opiates without using long-term opioid maintenance therapy, as well as browse the facility listing pages by city to locate programs that do use it.