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Subutex (Buprenorphine) as a Medication for Opioid Addiction Recovery

Subutex, or buprenorphine is a drug that is used for opioid replacement therapy. For many opioid addicts, it has been instrumental for them in their recoveries. For others, it has caused more problems than they counted on. 

If you have an opiates addiction, you may be considering starting Subutex, or a medication like it. It’s important for you to know as much as you can about this drug. You may have a lot of questions, such as: 

  • What are Subutex’s side effects?
  • Are there any concerns with taking Subutex long-term?
  • Does Subutex get you high?
  • How does Subutex compare to Suboxone?
  • Are there any Subutex withdrawal symptoms when you stop the drug? 

Our goal is to get you all the information you need. Once your questions are answered, you’ll find it easier to make an informed decision.

Subutex (Buprenorphine)

What is Subutex?

When people present with an opioid addiction, medications are often recommended to aid in recovery. For many of these individuals, a drug called Subutex is the first option discussed with them.

What is Subutex?

Subutex is a drug that was made specifically for opioid replacement therapy. For people who are addicted to opiate drugs, it helps them to stop using them. Subutex belongs to a classification of drugs known as mixed opioid agonist-antagonists. It works best when it is used as a part of a complete recovery program.

Subutex

Alternate Names for Subutex, Including Street Names

There are actually different kinds of Subutex because there are different brand names. This drug also goes by a few additional names. These are:

  • Norspan
  • Temgesic 

There are some differences in these drugs, and in what they’re used for. It’s important to understand all of them if one is prescribed for you. 

Different forms of buprenorphine will also go by various names on the street. Popular street names for Subutex include: 

  • Bupe
  • Subs
  • Subbies
  • Orange Guys
  • Sobos
What is Buprenorphine Used for?

What is Buprenorphine Used for?

There are a few different Subutex uses, depending on what brand you’re taking. Buprenorphine that goes by Subutex is specifically used to treat opioid dependence. You can purchase both the brand name and the generic name of this drug for this purpose. However, the other forms of Subutex are different.

Buprenex, Butrans, Norspan and Temgesic are all used to treat chronic pain.

They are quite effective in helping pain when other medications have failed. However, they are not for use with issues of acute pain and the need for relief.

Doctors consult a buprenorphine dosage chart to get the right Subutex mg amount for each patient. This is a drug that is usually given on a specific schedule to help with opiate withdrawal symptoms. In order to be effective, it’s important to find the right buprenorphine oral dosage.

For instance, a typical Subutex dosage schedule might look like this: 

Day 1: Take Subutex 8mg sublingual tablet once per day.
Day 2: Take Subutex 16mg sublingual tablet once per day.
Going Forward: Take between 4 and 24mg of Buprenorphine per day.

It is also possible to receive a Buprenorphine implant for the treatment opioid dependence. This option is only available to those who have proven to be opioid resistant. The Buprenorphine implant is inserted beneath the skin of the inside upper arm. It remains there for six months. 

For the Subutex sublingual pills, they all look different, depending on the manufacturer. If you were to look up Subutex images, you would find pictures that look like: 

  • A Subutex pill with 54 411 stamped on them
  • Subutex with m924 on the side
  • Subutex 8mg that is orange in color
  • The new Subutex pill, which is 8mg with an arrow on one side and an 8 on the other 

There are also different buprenorphine dosages for pain. These fall under the other brand names of Subutex. What’s interesting is that buprenorphine dosages are even prepared for cats that suffer with pain.

The goal for this type of Buprenorphine is to aid in detoxing from opiate drugs. Most people find that they actually only stay on Subutex for a short time. They are frequently started on Subutex 8mg, and then moved to Suboxone for maintenance therapy.

There has been a lot of discussion over the years regarding which drug is best for ORT – Subutex or Suboxone? You may be wondering the same thing. The Subutex vs. Suboxone argument has actually been going on since both drugs were released. 

Many doctors actually prefer to use these drugs in combination with each other. They are similar, but with one key difference. Suboxone also contains Naloxone. Naloxone is a drug that counteracts the effects of opioid drugs, which buprenorphine is. This basically means that 8mg of Subutex vs. 8mg of Suboxone are the same drug, except for the Naloxone. 

Most people find that they really need Subutex when they start opioid replacement therapy. However, there is a very real concern regarding abuse. This is why Suboxone is then introduced. The risk of abusing it is much lower because of the additional drug, Naloxone.

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Buprenorphine Facts That May Interest You

Buprenorphine Facts That May Interest You

If you’re new to Subutex, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about this drug. For example, did you know that: 

  • Buprenorphine should only be taken on a short-term basis? It is not intended to be a long-term solution for addiction.
  • Buprenorphine is flavored like lemon and lime? This makes it easier for people to take it.
  • It is possible to become dependent on Buprenorphine? It’s even possible to form an addiction to it.
  • Buprenorphine should be kept out of the reach of children? It’s not safe for kids to take it, and it could lead to respiratory failure.
  • It’s not as easy to overdose on Subutex than on other drugs? It has a ceiling effect that only allows you to feel good to a certain extent.
How to Take Butrans and Other Forms of Buprenorphine

How to Take Butrans and Other Forms of Buprenorphine

The different forms of Buprenorphine are so different. It’s important to know how to take each one of them. 

Butrans is a Buprenorphine skin patch that you wear for one week at a time. It works by releasing the medication into the body through the skin periodically. The same is true for Norspan, which is currently not available in the United States. 

Buprenex is a Buprenorphine injection that is administered in a doctor’s office. However, in some cases, patients may be taught to give the Buprenex shot to themselves at home. For adults, Buprenex may be able to be repeated every six hours. Sometimes it’s necessary to repeat doses more often. 

Temgesic sublingual tablets are also available to help with pain. In some cases, this drug might be taken by injection as well.

The generic Buprenorphine and Subutex are the forms of this drug people in the U.S. are most familiar with. You take it by placing the sublingual tablet under the tongue, and allowing it to dissolve. Right now, Subutex strips that go under the tongue are not available. The strips are used for Suboxone only.

When you are taking Buprenex, Butrans or other forms of Buprenorphine, you cannot get high with other opiates. This is because these drugs effectively block the opioid receptors in the brain and body. This makes it impossible for other opioid drugs to get through.

This is exactly what makes Buprenorphine such a desirable drug for opioid replacement therapy. Sometimes willpower alone is not enough. Many people find they need assistance from a medication that can help with abstinence from opoids.

Buprenorphine Abuse is Common in the U.S.

Buprenorphine Abuse is Common in the U.S.

It may not be possible to get high on other opiates while taking Buprenorphine. However, that does not mean that people haven’t found a way to get high while using it. Buprenorphine abuse has become very common in the United States. In fact, SAMHSA tells us that: 

  • In 2005, there were 3,161 emergency department visits because of Buprenorphine.
  • By 2010, that number increased to 30,135.
  • During that year, more than half of these ED visits were classified as being non-medical in nature.
  • There was a 255% increase in ED visits involving Buprenorphine and non-medical use of drugs between 2006 and 2010.
  • In 2010, additional drugs were involved in 59% of these cases. 

It didn’t take very long for people to realize it was possible to abuse Buprenorphine. This is one of the risks that doctors take when placing patients on these medications. Fortunately, this drug does produce an effect that only allows people to get only so high. Once that ceiling is reached, the drug is no longer effective as a drug of abuse.

How to Abuse Subutex

How to Abuse Subutex

There is no real way to tell what Buprenorphine dosage it takes to get high. This number is going to be different for everyone. Some people may get high on Subutex 8mg, whereas for others, it takes much more. 

Online drug use forums are filled with questions like, what’s the best way to get high off Subutex?. People may also ask, will shooting Subutex get you high?. Unfortunately, it’s a practice that’s happening far too often. 

When it comes to Subutex, snorting is a pretty common way to get high on the pills. Some people may also dissolve the tablets in water and then inject them. Others may only take more Buprenorphine than they are supposed to in order to get high. It may also be possible to enhance the Buprenorphine euphoria by drinking alcohol at the same time.

For someone using Subutex to get high, the first time is probably the best high. The Buprenorphine euphoria is quite enjoyable. It makes you feel calm and very relaxed. The high can also last for quite some time, depending on how much you used, and your method of use. 

Even so, it’s important to know that this is not a drug that is similar to street drugs. It may be an opioid, but it acts differently than other drugs. As we previously mentioned, it does have a ceiling effect. This means that after taking a certain amount, it will no longer get you high. In fact, when it comes to the Subutex high vs. the Suboxone high, the effects are quite the same.

The answer to this question is yes, Butrans is addictive. The same is true for other types of Buprenorphine medications, although the risk of addiction is lower than for other opioid drugs.

If you have started abusing Butrans, Buprenex, or Subutex, you need to know that you are at risk for addiction. This risk increases when you take these drugs for too long, or when you abuse them. If you are an opioid addict, you have a much higher risk for addiction than someone using these drugs for pain.

Do you know how to tell whether or not you have formed an addiction to Buprenorphine? You can tell you have if you: 

  • Find yourself thinking about getting high on Subutex or other Buprenorphine drugs frequently.
  • Have lost interest in things you love because you’d rather use these medications.
  • Experiment with different ways to use Buprenorphine to enhance your high.
  • Find that you need to use more of the drug to get the same results.
  • Go through Subutex withdrawal when you stop using it. 

Taking an addiction quiz can also help you determine whether or not you have an addiction to Buprenorphine. This quiz will also give you guidance on what to do if you are.

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Subutex Side Effects Long-Term and Short-Term

Subutex Side Effects Long-Term and Short-Term

No medication is without side effects, and Subutex is no different. When taking Subutex, you’ll likely find that you experience at least some of the following in the short-term: 

  • Headaches
  • Back or side pain
  • Frequent cough or hoarseness
  • Constipation
  • A fever or chills 

The longer you take Subutex, the more extreme the side effects can be. The different long-term side effects of Buprenorphine drugs include:

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Flushed skin
  • A loss of strength in your body
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Insomnia
  • Symptoms of depression
Quitting Butrans/Buprenorphine and Subutex Withdrawal Symptoms

Quitting Butrans/Buprenorphine and Subutex Withdrawal Symptoms

Subutex withdrawal symptoms can occur even when you take this drug appropriately. However, in this case, they may only happen if you take it for too long. Some common Buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms you might experience include: 

  • Restless legs
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive sweating
  • Pain in the body
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Bouts of diarrhea 

The presence of Buprenorphine withdrawal generally means that an addiction or dependence has taken place. When this is the case, drug detox may be required in order to stop taking it safely.

Answers to Additional Questions You May Have About Buprenorphine

Methadone is another drug that is commonly used to treat opioid dependence. However, it is a drug that is being used far less often than it once was. This is partially because of the fact that it more easily leads to addiction than Subutex does.

Also, Methadone carries a number of side effects; far more than Subutex. This in itself makes it not the best choice for opioid replacement therapy in many cases.

You may not be able to tell someone is on Buprenorphine drugs if they are taking them appropriately. It may be an opiate, but it’s actually quite safe when it is used according to doctor’s orders. However, if someone is abusing it, you should be able to tell easily. They may show signs of abuse, such as: 

  • Watery eyes
  • Problems with their memory
  • Smaller pupils than normal
  • Slurred speech
  • A low or even a high fever

For the most part, people who use Subutex get switched to Suboxone. It usually doesn’t occur the other way around. However, there are those who don’t seem to tolerate the Naloxone in Suboxone quite as well. For these individuals, Buprenorphine alone might be a better choice. In the event that this is the case, patients may be switched from Suboxone to Subutex.

When it comes to Subutex 8mg price, this drug is far more affordable than Suboxone. The same is true for the Subutex 8mg street price. This is one reason why so many people prefer to stay on Subutex, rather than move to Suboxone.

Is Subutex the Right Choice for You for Opioid Recovery?

We’d like to help you answer that question, here at Northpoint Evergreen Bellevue. You may be facing a situation where you’re not sure what to do to recover from your addiction. We want you to know that there is hope, and we can assist you.

What additional questions can we answer for you regarding Subutex or Buprenorphine? Please contact us today.

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Subutex Buprenorphine as a Medication for Opioid Addiction Recovery