Buprenorphine is a new drug used to treat heroin and opiate addiction. The therapeutic effect is similar to methadone but unlike methadone which needs to be obtained in a special clinic, buprenorphine can be prescribed by the medical doctor and the medicine taken at home. This makes it a very convenient method of treatment for the heroin addict. Given in tablet form, buprenorphine is administered by letting it melt under the patient’s tongue.
In treating heroin addiction, buprenorphine works by blocking withdrawal and craving symptoms so that the drug addict will not be tempted to use heroin. With buprenorphine, heroin use gets lessened until the addiction ultimately gets stopped. Even when the addict takes in heroin, buprenorphine blocks the effect of heroin. When used correctly, buprenorphine does not produce strong side effects. This makes it relatively difficult to overdose from it.
Although buprenorphine has been proven quite effective in weaning an addict away from heroin, it has the potential to be habit-forming. Even when used carefully, buprenorphine can bring about physical dependence. Doctors, who are trained and certified in the use of buprenorphine prescription, must monitor the patient who is on the drug. This is because when the person gets used to buprenorphine, it can lead the body to want more.
When a person gets addicted to this drug, headaches, agitation, sweating and nausea become apparent. The effects become even more severe when buprenorphine is injected or administered incorrectly. When used for the long-term, those who are addicted to the drug may increase their dosage and thus build up a tolerance to its effects. This causes them to take in more of the drug just to experience its highs.
Although the chances of overdosing on buprenorphine is quite rare when seen side-by-side with that of other opiates, it does happen especially when it is combined with other drugs. A buprenorphine overdose is typically signified by such physical signs as shortness and slowness of breath, hypotension, extreme weakness, feeling cold and clammy skin and respiratory depression. At its worst, fainting, coma and death can result.
Since buprenorphine is prescription medication for those trying to wean themselves from opiate addiction, the signs that one is getting addicted to it can be difficult to discern. However, if you are on buprenorphine and your thoughts are preoccupied with getting and using the drug, having strong cravings for it, going to several doctors just to be able to get a prescription, faking prescription, having little or no control over the drug and purchasing it through illegal means then chances are high that you are already addicted to buprenorphine.
It’s important to seek professional help promptly if you or your loved one is addicted to this substance since there are a lot of options to treat the buprenorphine addict. Inpatient drug rehabilitation centers and outpatient programs can provide various interventions to help the addict get his life back. Detoxification, counseling and other methods are utilized in these facilities to help the buprenorphine addict cope with the withdrawal safely and effectively. There are different approaches used by different centers but what’s important is for the addict or even his loved ones to realize that there is a problem and that he needs help to solve it. This is the first step towards getting treatment.