Neuro Assisted Recovery, Inc.

What is Subutex & Suboxone?   In October 2002, FDA approved two sublingual formulations of the Schedule III opioid partial agonist medication buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid addiction. These medications, Subutex® (buprenorphine) and Suboxone® (buprenorphine / naloxone), are the first and, as of this writing, the only Schedule III, IV, or V medications to have received such FDA approval and, thus, greatly expanding access to treatment and bringing new hope to thousands.

How does it work?  Buprenorphine occupies opioid receptors with great affinity and thus blocks opioids from exerting their effects, reduces cravings for the drug, and prevents unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Subutex® (buprenorphine) has unique pharmacological properties that make it an effective and well-tolerated addition to the available pharmacological treatments for opioid addiction.

Drugs that activate opioid receptors on neurons are termed opioid agonists. Heroin and methadone are opioid agonists. The repeated administration of opioid agonists results in dose-dependent physical dependence and tolerance. Physical dependence is manifested as a characteristic set of withdrawal signs and symptoms upon reduction or loss of an active compound at its receptors. Addiction, conversely, is a behavioral syndrome characterized by the repeated, compulsive seeking or use of a substance, despite adverse social, psychological, and/or physical consequences, Opioid addiction1 often, but not always, is accompanied by tolerance, physical dependence, and opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Opioids that bind to opioid receptors but block them, rather than activating them, are termed opioid antagonists. Examples of opioid antagonists are naltrexone and naloxone.

Opioid partial agonists are drugs that activate receptors, but not to the same degree as full agonists. Increasing the dose of a partial agonist does not produce as great an effect as does increasing the dose of a full agonist. The agonist effects of a partial agonist reach a ceiling at moderate doses and do not increase from that point, even with increases in dosage. Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist. It is the partial agonist properties of buprenorphine that make it a safe and effective option for the treatment of opioid addiction. Buprenorphine occupies opioid receptors with great affinity and thus blocks opioid full agonists from exerting their effects, reduces cravings, and prevents unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.


1 Opioid addiction includes not only misuse and abuse of heroin, but also the less commonly recognized issue of misuse and abuse of prescription opioid pain medications, such as Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Meperidine.


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