Buprenorphine use has become popular in addiction treatment in recent years, as a means of treating physical addiction to opiates such as heroin or prescription painkillers. Marketed under the popular brand name Subutex, buprenorphine works to reduce opiate cravings by acting as a decoy for opiate presence in the brain.
Users experience lowered withdrawal symptoms and reduced urge to use opiates as this chemical dynamic takes place. However, because of the way in which buprenorphine binds with opiate receptors, euphoria normally associated with opiate use does not occur.
Buprenorphine Addiction Potential
Because of buprenorphine’s occupancy of binding sites, opiate-addicted individuals who continue to use opiates will experience fewer pleasurable effects of the drugs upon ingestion. However, buprenorphine can still produce a measure of pleasurable feelings for users, including analgesic (painkilling) effects, elevated mood and relaxation.
Additionally, addicted individuals can abuse buprenorphine, often by crushing the drug for ingestion through intravenous injection or insufflation (commonly known as “snorting”).
Hazards of Buprenorphine Addiction
Despite buprenorphine’s intended use in treatment of opiate addiction, the drug itself can lead to abuse and chemical dependency. In fact, the withdrawal phase from buprenorphine addiction can last longer than that associated with opiate addiction, though symptoms tend to range in severity. During buprenorphine withdrawal, patients can experience loose stools, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
For some, severe headaches, difficulties sleeping, cold flashes and heavy sweating can also occur. Repetitive sneezing and yawning are often accompanied by feelings of exhaustion during buprenorphine withdrawal. Tremors, shaking, and muscle and bone pains may resemble those associated with opiate use (including involuntary muscular movements responsible for the term, “kicking the habit”).
Seeking Medically Supervised Buprenorphine Addiction Treatment
As with the opiates it mimics, buprenorphine does not lend itself to self-directed detoxification well. In addition to potentially severe withdrawal symptoms associated with cessation, buprenorphine withdrawal can give rise to opiate cravings that draw recovering addicts back into drug use.
Proper detoxification at a medically supervised detox facility is warranted instead, with monitoring of vital signs, natural detoxification methods and psychological counseling to help aid addiction recovery and guide users through the rehabilitation process. Because buprenorphine is often used in medical detoxification, natural detox methods are ideal for users attempting to recover from buprenorphine addiction.
For those who have taken buprenorphine in an attempt to resolve pre-existing opiate dependency, coming to terms with buprenorphine addiction can be disheartening. However, professional drug addiction treatment programs have successfully guided countless individuals through the buprenorphine addiction recovery process. If you are currently struggling with buprenorphine — or suspect that a loved one displays symptoms of buprenorphine addiction — we invite you to call our toll-free helpline to learn more about available buprenorphine recovery facilities across the nation. Our competent addiction specialists can guide you through the treatment selection process and are more than happy to answer any questions you might have about buprenorphine rehabilitation.