Buprenorphine for drug dependence
|buprenorphine and naloxone
You take buprenorphine by placing pills under your tongue.
How It Works
opioid medicine similar to morphine, codeine, and
heroin. It targets the same places in the brain that opioids do. It relieves
drug cravings without giving you the same high as other opioid drugs.
Buprenorphine can cause side effects similar to other opioids and
also can cause physical dependence.
Why It Is Used
Buprenorphine can help treat
addiction to opioid drugs, including heroin and
narcotic painkillers. It prevents or reduces
withdrawal symptoms caused by quitting these
How Well It Works
Research has shown that buprenorphine is effective for treating
Buprenorphine or buprenorphine and naloxone may cause side
effects. Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects are severe or do
not go away:
Other side effects are less common. Call your doctor if you have
any of the following side effects:
- Hives, itching, or a skin
- Lack of energy or extreme tiredness
- Pain in the
upper right part of your belly
- Slowed breathing
breathing or swallowing
- Unusual bleeding or
- Upset stomach or loss of appetite
- Yellowing of
the skin or eyes
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Do not take mood-altering drugs, narcotic painkillers, sedatives,
sleeping pills, or tranquilizers while taking buprenorphine.
In some cases, buprenorphine may be used as an alternative to
methadone, which also is given to treat opioid addiction. Buprenorphine may
have less severe side effects than methadone. Talk to your doctor about what
might work best for you.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Buprenorphine: An alternative to methadone (2003).
Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, 45(W1150A):