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How Strong of an Opioid is Buprenorphine?

How Strong of an Opiate is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is a potent synthetic opioid medication, even though it doesn’t act in the same exact way as most opioid-based narcotics.

Buprenorphine, or better known as Suboxone or Subutex, is a semi-synthetic partial opioid agonist. This means it works partially like an opiate, but the effects are significantly weaker than a full agonist opiate such as heroin or methadone. Buprenorphine is taken as a substitute for the treatment of methadone and heroin dependence and is intended to help people withdraw from those drugs, reduce the need and desire to use heroin, which is known as buprenorphine maintenance, and to treat severe pain. This medication is meant to reduce the cravings that people who are addicted to opioids experience. This medication is prescribed by a doctor to gradually taper the person off of it until their body no longer has to rely on any narcotics at all to feel normal.   

Buprenorphin is a Very Potent Synthetic Opioid

Buprenorphine is a potent synthetic opioid medication, even though it doesn’t act in the same exact way on the body as most primary-purpose pain-relieving opioid-based narcotics. On a list of strongest to weakest opiates, it falls 3rd right after carfentanil and fentanyl. While it is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of opioid use and addiction, it is anywhere from 25-100 times stronger than morphine. However, it does not produce the euphoric high that it so greatly sought after. Depending on the opioid receptors that buprenorpine targets, it may be an opioid agonist or antagonist.

All opiates and opioids act on the brain in the same way. They bind with receptors in the brain called mu receptors. This is what is responsible for the high associated with this kind of drug. Buprenorphine is different, but also the same, because it binds much more strongly to these same receptors, so much so that it blocks the effects of all other opiate drugs like heroin or oxycodone.

How Strong of an Opiate is Buprenorphine?

Is Buprenorphine Addictive?

Even though Buprenorphine is meant to stop addiction to other opiates, it still can be highly addictive itself. When it is misused, it actually can produce feelings of euphoria, but it will not be as strong as other drugs. When buprenorphine is taken appropriately, at the right time, and in the correct dosage, it will effectively reduce the symptoms of opiate and opioid withdrawal as well as suppress cravings of opiates, and allow people the chance to stay sober.

What to Expect from Buprenorphine Withdrawal

Like any other opiate drug, we do not recommend you abruptly stop taking buprenorphine, as you will experience some uncomfortable withdrawal side effects. They can often feel like withdrawal from heroin and include symptoms like nausea, headaches, cold sweats, body aches, flu-like symptoms, depression, changes in appetite, and changes in your sleep habits. To reduce the risk of these symptoms, we recommend tapering off of this drug. This may not completely stop withdrawal symptoms, but it will make them much less noticeable. To minimize the symptoms, it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions fully and take your time when tapering off. If you are not careful, it is also entirely possible to overdose on Buprenorphine and can lead to seizures and even coma.

Want to Overcome Addiction to Buprenorphine?

If you have been struggling with opiate addiction or need to taper off Buprenorphine, please feel free to give us a call today. We will discuss treatment options, and do our best to send you in the right direction. Now is the time to turn your life around. Let us help you do it. The team at Evoke Waltham consist of qualified professionals that are available 24/7 to answer any question or concerns you may have. It is time to put the pain and misery of addiction in your past and rebuild your life into something you are proud of.