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The National Alliance of Advocates
for Buprenorphine Treatment

Buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®3, Zubsolv™4, Bunavail™5) is an opioid medication used to treat opioid addiction in the privacy of a physician's office.1 Buprenorphine can be dispensed for take-home use, by prescription.1 This, in addition to the pharmacological and safety profile of buprenorphine, makes it an attractive treatment for patients addicted to opioids.2

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQsTo learn more click on the topic which interests you.
If you have a question which is not included, please email us and we will try to answer it.

Find a Buprenorphine Physician

Have a certified prescribing physician contact you. The Patient/Physician Matching System.
Find other local resources (physicians,
counselors, pharmacies, studies,
meetings, etc.)

Is buprenorphine treatment just trading one addiction for another?

No– with successful buprenorphine treatment, the compulsive behavior, the loss of control of drug use, the constant cravings, and all of the other hallmarks of addiction vanish.

What exactly is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine (BYOO-pre-NOR-feen) ('bu-pre-'nor-feen) (C29H41NO4) is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from thebaine. (found in the Poppy plant)

What drugs are opioids?

Examples of brand name opioids are: OxyContin®, Percocet®, Palladone®(taken off the market 7/2005), Vicodin®, Percodan®, Tylox® and Demerol® among others.

What’s this agonist / antagonist stuff?

Properties of some drugs; and essential in understanding why buprenorphine is unique.

How do opioids work in the brain?

Opioids attach to receptors in the brain, which leads to a release of dopamine and causes feelings of euphoria.

Are there exceptions when Buprenorphine may be administered by a practitioner without the DATA 2000 waiver?

Yes. It may be dispensed by anon-wavered physician for up to 72 hours for the treatment of acute withdrawal while longer term treatment is being worked out.

How does Buprenorphine work in the brain?

The Buprenorphine tends to occupy the receptors without all of the opioid effects.

Are there other uses for Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine (in injectable form)has been used to treat pain for many years.

What exactly are opioid receptors?

These are protein molecules that exist on the surface of nerve cell membranes. They provide a way for the body to experience the effects of opioids.

What is addiction?

Addiction is uncontrollable compulsive behavior caused by alterations of parts of the brain from repeated exposure to highly euphoric responses.

What is withdrawal?

Withdrawal syndrome consists of a predictable group of signs and symptoms resulting from abrupt removal of, or a rapid decrease in the regular dosage of, a psychoactive substance.

Is continued addictive behavior a voluntary behavior?

The initial decision to take drugs is mostly voluntary. However, when drug misuse takes over, a person's ability to exert self control can become seriously impaired...

What are examples of treatment options?

Buprenorphine treatment, methadone...

What are the pros and cons of treatment with Methadone?

Pros: More than 30 years of experience in treating opioid addiction

What are the pros and cons of inpatient detoxification?

Pros: Medical supervision and expertise is provided and patients are kept day and night until discharged.

What are the pros and cons of detoxification under anesthesia (Rapid Detox)?

It is not sufficient treatment for the brain disease of addiction

Why is it called "quitting cold turkey"?

One symptom of opioid withdrawal is goose flesh (small bumps on the surface of the skin usually resulting from being cold).

Why is counseling an important tool in the treatment process?

Buprenorphine only helps with the physical portion of the addiction, cravings and withdrawal. There is an equally important behavioral part as well.

Who can prescribe Buprenorphine?

The way the law is written, any doctor can prescribe Buprenorphine for treating pain, however there exists restrictions for those who want to prescribe it for opioid addiction treatment

Is buprenorphine addictive?

Although there is the potential for addiction to buprenorphine, the risk is low. Few people develop the dangerous uncontrollable compulsion to buprenorphine that we know as addiction.

Can someone switch from methadone to buprenorphine?

Yes. It recommended that the transition is made at 30mg or less of methadone.

Does insurance cover it?

Most insurance companies cover it. You might be able to file the claim yourself if your doctor won't accept your insurance.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose and remember it <12 hours later, take it upon remembering.

Why are doctors limited to only helping 30/100 people at a time?

The same law (DATA-2000) that allows physicians to prescribe certain opioid medications for opioid addiction from their office also limits how many patients they can treat.

What if I need pain medication for surgery, or acute pain?

You will still be able to be treated for pain with elective dental or surgical procedures.

How soon can a work schedule be resumed?

It is recommended to take the first day of treatment off.

What is the DATA 2000?

A law that allows doctors to treat opioid addiction in-office.

What is the Naloxone for?

Naloxone is present in Suboxone to discourage misuse, only. It serves no other purpose.

Is Buprenorphine safe for people with a co-existing psychological illness?

Yes. Many people use drugs because they are knowingly or unknowingly self-medicating for an underlying psychiatric condition.

What are the statistics with regard to opioid addiction and use in the US?

Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), there were an estimated 810,000 to 1,000,000 individuals addicted to heroin in the US in the year 2000....

What is Precipitated withdrawal?

A withdrawal syndrome initiated by another medication.

Naltrexone? What is it and what does it do?

Naltrexone is a medication that blocks the effects of opioids. It has shown evidence of reducing cravings.

Is my medical information confidential?

Yes. The confidentiality of alcohol and drug dependence patient records is protected by federal law and regulations.

Does buprenorphine show up in an employer drug screening?

It is becoming more common for an employer to test for buprenorphine. Although, if testing for opiates in general buprenorphine will not be detected.

What is Zubsolv®?

Buprenorphine/naloxone sublingual tablet FDA approved and indicated for the treatment of opioid addiction.

What is Bunavail™?

Bup/Nx Buccal Film FDA approved and indicated for the treatment of opioid addiction.

The Purpose of Buprenorphine Treatment:

To suppress the debilitating symptoms of cravings and withdrawal, enabling the patient to engage in therapy, counseling and support, so they can implement positive long-term changes in their lives which develops into the new healthy patterns of behavior necessary to achieve sustained addiction remission. - explain -

The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment is a non-profit organization charged with the mission to:

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Talk Paper, T0238, October 8, 2002, Subutex and Suboxone approved to treat opiate dependence.
  2. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 40. DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 04-3939. Rockville, Md: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2004.
  3. Subutex Discontinued in the US market in late 2011.
  4. Zubsolv (bup/nx sublingual tablet) FDA approved 7/3/2013 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic -in pharmacies now.
  5. Bunavail (bup/nx bucal film) FDA approved 6/6/2014 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic -in pharmacies now.
  6. Probuphine Rejected by FDA 4/30/2013 - may resubmit in late 2015 - Probuphine denied by FDA