Buprenorphine 2017-11-23T17:46:34+00:00

Buprenorphine (Subs, Oranges, Sobos)

New Jersey Buprenorphine Drug Possession and Distribution Defense Attorneys

Drug Facts About Buprenorphine

Brand names: Subutex, Suboxone, Temgesic, Buprenex

Street names: Subs, Bupe, subbies, oranges, sobos, box, stop signs,

Drug Classification: Buprenorphine is a Schedule III substance in the US, meaning it is illegal to sell or posses without a valid license of prescription. It was rescheduled in 2002 by the DEA from Schedule V to III.

General Drug Information

Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opiate used medically as a painkiller and more recently as a treatment for opiate addiction and withdrawal. Unlike full opiate agonists like Heroin or Oxycodone, Buprenorphine is a partial opiate agonist. This means at low doses it produces similar effects to other opiates and can satisfy the symptoms of people who are detoxing, but at moderate doses the drug stops producing increased effects with increased dosage (the “ceiling effect”) and instead plateaus. This decreases the abuse potential, side effects, and overdose risks of Buprenorphine, but because the effects of the drug are limited, recreational users often combine it with other substances like alcohol, benzodiazepines (i.e., valium, Xanax), sleeping pills, or other opiates. This is highly dangerous and can lead to fainting, coma, and even death from respiratory depression.

Drug Abuse

Buprenorphine comes as a white powder available in tablets or liquid injectable form. Abusers of the drug typically crush the tablets and snort them in pursuit of a rush of euphoria, relaxation, and a sense of wellbeing. Recreational users also report a slight stimulant effect, though snorting the tablets is only a slightly faster method of administration than dissolving them under the tongue. But overall, the drug produces less of a “high” than most opiates, and its recreational abuse is more rare.

A medication given to those who have overdosed on opiates, Naloxone, is added to many buprenorphine medications to discourage its recreational use. If pills containing a buprenorphine/ naloxone combination are taken as directed, then the buprenorphine effect is felt and little of the naloxone is absorbed. But if the pills are not taken as directed, but instead are crushed and injected, the naloxone effect will predominate. If the person trying to inject buprenorphine is being treated for opiate withdrawal, this action will likely bring about increased symptoms of withdrawal rather than relief. At high doses, buprenorphine even can counteract the effects of other opiates in a users system.

Side Effects

Side effects of buprenorphine are typical of other opiates and include constipation, nausea, and vomiting.

Withdrawal Symptoms

While there are some users that use buprenorphine exclusively, it is more commonly used to stave off withdrawal symptoms in between uses of a stronger opiate like heroin. Some users also want to break their addiction to opiates but don’t want their detox on record, so they purchase the pills on the street. This can be a much cheaper and less difficult way of obtaining medication for breaking addiction, but brings dangers related to the purity of the substances and illicit drug sales in general.

Buprenorphine has been shown in studies to be equally as effective as methadone at low and moderate doses, but not as effective as methadone at high doses for patients with severe physical symptoms. But it may be more convenient for some patients since it is available in a 30-day take-home dose (but this increases the risk of its diversion.) And like methadone, a patient taking buprenorphine often becomes addicted to buprenorphine and suffer withdrawal symptoms of their medication is discontinued.

Withdrawal from buprenorphine can be severe and generally should only occur under direct medical attention. But withdrawal from methadone is considered more severe and difficult to overcome.

Sources:

http://www.drugabusehelp.com/drugs/buprenorphine/ – Buprenorphine Addiction
http://www.rxlist.com/buprenex-drug.htm – Drug Information – Buprenorphine
http://www.drugs.com/pro/buprenorphine-injection.html – Injection of Buprenorphine
http://www.drug-rehabs.com/buprenorphine-detox.htm – Buprenorphine Drug Detox Information
http://www.erowid.org/pharms/buprenorphine/buprenorphine.shtml – Dangerous Drugs, Buprenorphine