Chronic Pain Management Using Buprenorphine

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How Buprenorphine Works for Pa in Management or Opiate Addiction

Buprenorphine is being used for drug addiction treatment because it is a long-acting opioid (24-72 hours) and it produces less respiratory depression at high doses than other narcotic treatment drugs. Buprenorphine is much more potent than morphine as an analgesic; and like morphine, it produces dose-related euphoria, respiratory depression, and sedation.

How Buprenorphine Works

How Buprenorphine Works

Low doses of buprenorphine can eliminate opiate withdrawal symptoms

When treating someone who is addicted to opioids, a low dose of buprenorphine is strong enough to allow an addict to stop taking opiates without  experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Side Effects of buprenorphine are minimal.  The most common was sedation but it was mild.

Other side effects reported in less than 5% of the patients in this study were as follows:

  • Sweating
  • Hypotension
  • Hypoventilation
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Acute pain treatment can be hindered by the use of buprenorphine.  Suboxone has phannacological properties, and emergency care centers  find it difficult to control acute pain by using full agonist opioids because their effects will be minimized by the buprenorphine molecule.  Opioid tolerance also contributes to diminished pain relief as a result of the chronic use of a long lasting opioid, Special consideration needs to be given to potential circumstances that buprenorphine maintenance


Vivitrol (naltrexone) and Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) are the new hope for opiate addicts

Vivitrol (Naltrexone) is a monthly injection given in a physicians office. It controls addiction by preventing euphoria from other opioids or alcohol.

Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) works by limiting the euphoric effects of opioids but at the same time preventing withdrawal symptoms. While there is no perfect treatment, both of these medications can be safe and effective when used properly.

These are far lower cost to an addict than typical opioids.  I know of some addicts who were spending $160 daily to support their addiction, and spend a good portion of the day seeking out the drug for fear of intense withdrawal.

A doctor mentioned some real-world experiences with subxone…

To see a 42 year old nurse to break into tears when talking about how she feels like she got her life back due to these Suboxone treatment.  To have a young mother hug me while crying because she was so happy to be able to care for her children and be normal again.

Potentially fatal interactions with other depressants such as benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan), THC, alcohol, sleep aids, muscle relaxers, etc.

Withdrawal: Although the addict feels like dying, withdrawal from opiates in itself is not lethal (as withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepines can be)



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