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One of the questions asked of substance abuse experts is if medications that were designed for legitimate medical purposes, like Buprenorphine for addiction treatment, can also be abused?  The answer is yes.  Buprenorphine and Suboxone addiction treatment are both helpful during detox from opioid dependency and other stages of recovery from opiate addiction or other illicit opioids as well as prescription opioid medications. Drug addicts that are treated with these two medications can develop a physical dependence, but it is less likely than with Methadone and other substances used in the treatment of opioid dependence involving heroin or prescription opioids. There is abuse potential regarding Buprenorphine as drug addicts will sometimes substitute their drug of choice with a controlled substance if it is easier to acquire in the moment.  

If you have received Buprenorphine as part of a substance abuse treatment plan and have taken Buprenorphine doses outside of what was ordered by medical professionals in physician offices or a drug rehab, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.  If you are struggling with alcohol and drug addiction and would like to hear about options regarding treatment for opioid addiction or any other substances, please give us a call at Resurgence.  We’re here to help with your addiction recovery. 

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What is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is a drug used as part of a Medication Assisted Treatment plan, most commonly associated with illicit opioids and prescription opioids.   Buprenorphine is only a “partial agonist” at opioid receptors in the brain, and does not cause a strong enough effect to respiratory depression to the point of death, which makes a fatal overdose less likely than with other illicit or prescription opioids. 

The following buprenorphine treatment products are FDA approved for Opioid Use Disorder:

  • Generic Buprenorphine/naloxone sublingual tablets
  • Buprenorphine sublingual tablets (Subutex)
  • Buprenorphine/naloxone sublingual films (Suboxone)
  • Buprenorphine/naloxone) sublingual tablets (Zubsolv)
  • Buprenorphine/naloxone buccal film (Bunavail)
  • Buprenorphine implants (Probuphine)
  • Buprenorphine extended-release injection (Sublocade)

Buprenorphine Effects

Whether someone is taking Buprenorphine properly as part of treatment for opioid addiction or misusing the drug, there can be side effects. If you are being treated for addiction with Buprenorphine and experience any of these side effects, you should contact your treatment provider to discuss other options.  Here are some of the effects you may experience when you are taking sublingual Buprenorphine or any other form of opiate withdrawal medication: 

  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Inability to sleep
  • Fever
  • Blurred vision or dilated pupils
  • Tremors
  • Palpitations
  • Disturbance in attention

Signs of Buprenorphine Abuse and Addiction

There are some signs of substance abuse that are common among many different types of drugs, including cocaine, heroin, other illicit opioids, and prescription synthetic opioids. If one of your loved ones is taking buprenorphine for opioid addiction treatment, you should still be wary of possible abuse. In addition to doctor shopping, in which drug addicts try and get medications prescribed by more than one treatment provider, financial issues, and drug paraphernalia, here are some of the physical signs for Buprenorphine abuse:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Tearing
  • Fainting
  • Appetite loss
  • Impaired or slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Sleep trouble
  • Muscle aches
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased blood pressure

Buprenorphine Withdrawal Symptoms

Due to the fact that Buprenorphine is only a partial agonist, withdrawal symptoms are not as severe as with other synthetic opioids. When someone has become addicted to Buprenorphine and stops using the drug, they may experience the following:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Watery eyes
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Changes in appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Cold sweats
  • Body aches
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Cravings
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Depression

Long-Term Side Effects of Buprenorphine Abuse

There are also more serious side effects and long term effects associated with Buprenorphine abuse.  These do not typically occur when someone is taking the medication properly and as ordered by a treatment provider for opioid use disorder. Addiction to opioids can become very dangerous to a person’s health and even a partial agonist can cause serious issues like the following:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Overdose
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Dependence
  • Withdrawal
  • Itching, pain, swelling, and nerve damage (implant)
  • Pain at injection site (injection)
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (in newborns)

Buprenorphine Addiction Treatment

If you are struggling with addiction to opioids, including synthetic opioids whose primary purpose is to treat opioid use disorder, please contact us at Resurgence at your earliest convenience.  We have many treatment programs and can assist you in finding the addiction recovery plan for opiate addiction, opiate withdrawal, or any other alcohol and drug rehab options that best fit your needs.

Our Buprenorphine addiction treatment center provides comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment through a multitude of Buprenorphine addiction treatment programs and addiction therapy services. Upon your admission into a Buprenorphine addiction treatment center, our addiction treatment professionals will determine the unique underlying mental health conditions that cause your addiction to Buprenorphine. Our addiction therapy services and addiction treatment programs in California include:

Does your Insurance Cover Rehab?

At Resurgence, we accept most PPO insurance. Verify your insurance now.