Buprenorphine is a medication that is used to treat opioid addiction. It is a partial opioid agonist, which means it binds to the same receptors in the brain as other opioids, such as heroin or Oxycodone, but it does not produce the same level of euphoria or sedation. This makes it less likely to be abused and less likely to cause respiratory depression, a potentially fatal side effect of other opioids. Buprenorphine is often used in combination with naloxone, a medication that can block the effects of other opioids and prevent overdose. Buprenorphine is a schedule III controlled substance, which means it has accepted medical use and moderate to low potential for abuse. It is commonly used in a treatment called Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a type of treatment for opioid addiction that involves the use of medication, such as buprenorphine, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. The goal of MAT is to reduce the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and cravings, which can make it difficult for individuals to stop using opioids and stay in recovery.
When taken as prescribed, buprenorphine can help to stabilize brain chemistry and reduce the risk of relapse. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as other opioids, but it does not produce the same level of euphoria or sedation. This reduces the risk of overdose and makes it less appealing as a recreational drug. Buprenorphine also has a “ceiling effect” which means that even if a person takes more than the prescribed dose, it will not produce any additional effects.
MAT is considered to be a highly effective form of treatment for opioid addiction. It can improve patient outcomes, reduce the risk of overdose, and increase the chances of long-term recovery. It is also recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition to buprenorphine, other medications used in MAT include methadone and naltrexone. The choice of medication depends on the individual’s needs and preferences, as well as their history of opioid use. A healthcare professional will work with the patient to determine the best course of treatment.