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The National Alliance of Advocates
for Buprenorphine Treatment

Buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®3, Zubsolv™4, Probuphine®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

Severe Buprenorphine-Induced Constipation

Emergency measures


fleet enema If you didn't take heed of the constipation precautionary measures and are in a situation where you cannot pass a hard and unusually large stool, there might be some things you can still do before going to the hospital. First, do not take stimulative laxatives. Second, do not strain or push extremely hard, this can cause hemorrhoid tissue to swell, inflame or even prolapse, compounding the problem making it magnitudes more unpleasant...if you can imagine that.

A lubricating enema such as a mineral oil enema or even a saline enema can not only help lubricate the passage but also break apart the mass making it easier to expel. Enemas can be store-bought kits, or improvised home remedies. There is no shortage of online information on enemas.
Tip: Warm enema to around 100 degrees before use.

If an enema is not enough, don an exam glove, lubricate with mineral oil or petroleum jelly, and yes, reach in with a finger or two to manipulate the stool. Separate small pieces at a time and slowly work through the mass until it is small enough to pass entirely. As unpleasant as the thought of that is, it beats going to the emergency room and having someone else do it for you. (at a cost of about $1,500 without insurance)

However, if the mass is out of reach and if you are passing diarrhea or have a fever with abdominal pains, you might have an obstructed bowel and no choice but to go to the emergency room or call 911. The bright side is you won't neglect precautionary measures in the future, after that experience.

Here's a helpful link with more information about self-help constipation remedies.


Note: An obstruced bowel occurs when something is blocking your intestines (large stool or foreign object). Symptoms of a bowel obstruction can include:

  • Loss of appetite and/or inability to eat
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • No bowel movement for several days along with the above three symptoms

If you have symptoms of a bowel obstruction, do not take a laxative or an enema without advice from a doctor and seek medical attention A.S.A.P. an obstructed bowel is serious.

This page was last modified on : 10/29/2013

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. FDA approved 7/3/2013 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic
  5. Rejected by FDA 4/30/2013 - Future Unknown - Probuphine denied by FDA