The word opioid is almost synonymous with addiction. The drugs’ inherent addictiveness has caused thousands of individuals to fall prey to its potent effects and cause even the most unlikely to develop dependency issues and subsequent addiction. Opioids such as oxycodone, Percocet, and hydrocodone are generally prescribed for individuals who are struggling with pain management after extreme cases like surgery, chemotherapy or following a car accident.

Many patients who are prescribed an opioid-based medication have a higher likelihood of building up a tolerance and may have difficulty stopping use. For many years, opioid addiction treatment consisted of basic detoxification and rehabilitation at a clinic, residential center, or private practice. In 2002, a breakthrough for opioid treatment was accepted and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) –Buprenorphine. This powerful component of treatment was designed as a new take on medically assisted treatment (MAT) that would forever change the way that substance abuse is managed. Buprenorphine treatment for opioid addiction was introduced as a safe effective way for patients in recovery from substance abuse.

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What is buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is an opioid itself, though it is partial, that is used to treat individuals who are struggling with chronic pain, acute pain, and substance abuse of opioids and is thus known as an anti-opioid or opioid antagonist. It is important to note that Buprenorphine is not a stand-alone treatment and should be administered only while an individual is participating in a therapeutic program and receiving support in a healthy environment.

How long does buprenorphine block opiates?

In most cases, the anti-opioid will work to block all effects for 24 hours minimum, opioid antagonists such as Suboxone have been known to have lasting effects that can continue for up to 72 hours in total.

However, this can be dependant on variables such as:

  • Rate of metabolic processing
  • Weight of the individual
  • The longevity of prior opioid use
  • If a full opioid has been consumed within 24 hours of a dose of Buprenorphine, the effects of the antagonist will be limited if not completely non-existent.

Buprenorphine Medication List

Buprenorphine medication essentially refers to the “generic” name that this drug is sold typically under different brands, all of which have the same purpose and virtually identical results. The following buprenorphine medication list represents the various buprenorphine products that are available for medically assisted treatment at this time:

  • Bunavail is an opioid antagonist that is a hybrid between Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Like its counterparts, Bunavail works to reduce cravings in a person in recovery and is used as part of a full treatment program. Its primary form of administration is oral via a sublingual film that dissolves inside of the patient’s cheek.
  • Buprenex is another form of anti-opioid agent that is composed of Buprenorphine, hydrochloric acid, and water for ease of use for its only route of administration which is via intravenous injection. Because of its form of administration Buprenex is only used within the walls of a licensed medical center or inpatient practice.
  • Butrans is a transdermal patch that is placed on the skin and slowly absorbs into the patient’s system. Butrans has an extended-release and is meant to be used for 7 days in total for each patch. Five strength levels are available and the level of potency will be determined by the doctor in charge of the case.
  • Probuphine is one of the newer forms of opioid treatment and was the first Buprenorphine probuphine implant that was approved for use by the FDA exclusively for its anti-opioid properties. Buprenorphine implant for opioid addiction also possesses an extended-release time that lasts for up to 6 months and is ideal for patients who are enrolled in longer treatment programs.
  • Subutex is the classic form of Buprenorphine, it appears in the form of a tablet for ease of daily use. Subutex is provided at two different levels of strength 2 milligrams and 8 milligrams.
  • Suboxone, similar to its counterparts, Suboxone consists of two ingredients Buprenorphine and Naloxone and can be administered via sublingual film or by tablet form.
  • Zubsolv possesses an identical ingredient list as Suboxone. Zubsolv is administered as a disintegrating tablet that appears triangular and has 6 levels of strength available for treatment.

How Does Buprenorphine Work?

Buprenorphine is an active partial opioid that is ingested to assist in the treatment of opioid-dependent and further abuse.

Let’s take a look at Buprenorphine and how it works:

The antagonist works to manipulate the brain by attaching itself to the brain’s receptors, without inducing effects of intense pleasure, happiness, and reduced pain levels. While these receptors remain attached, the brain believes it is still content and therefore, the need and desire for full opioids are reduced until there is no craving or desire for the person in recovery to consume more opioids in the future. In short, this answers the question, “how does buprenorphine work?”

The three primary goals of Buprenorphine are:

  • Significant craving reduction
  • Reduce the physical effects of opioids that can manifest during withdrawal, cravings, and urges
  • In the event of an overdose, the event of respiratory failure and other painful side effects will be reduced.

How long does buprenorphine work?

The effects of buprenorphine are had at work for a minimum of 24 hours in most patients. However, variables such as the history of use, age, and method of administration can have an impact on the lasting effect of the opioid-antagonist.

Induction Phase

This is the initial stage of medically assisted treatment (MAT) via buprenorphine.

Buprenorphine induction therapy is conducted under the care of a doctor in a clinical setting whether in a hospital or residential treatment center- the first administration is never taken at home regardless of whether the enrolled program is outpatient or inpatient care. The forms of administration for the buprenorphine induction phase may be intravenous, or oral ingestion of antagonist. During this phase, the patient must have abstained from any usage of opioids for a minimum of 12 hours, but an ideal 24 to avoid any onset of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms or side effects that can compromise the treatment if consumed to close together. The transition from opioid use to continuation generally lasts 3 to 7 days.

Stabilization Phase

Buprenorphine stability is developed during phase two of the treatment program known as the stabilization phase. During this time, a patient has completely terminated the use of all prior substances or has reduced the intake amount of substances in abuse. In this phase, there is likely a significantly reduced amount of physically strenuous side effects and a decrease in desire and cravings. With the implementation of extended use antagonists such as implants, patches, or intravenous shots, patients can reduce the amount of superphone that they take daily if any at all. In total, the stabilization phase may last from one to two months

Maintenance Phase

The final phase in medically assisted treatment varies from patient to patient. While in some cases the buprenorphine maintenance treatment phase can be completed in a few months, the average length of time a person in recovery takes to complete MAT therapy with buprenorphine can average 6 months to a year or more. Every patient that is enrolled in buprenorphine maintenance MAT is under the close watch of medical practitioners that will monitor progress and determine if there is a further need for opioid antagonists or use can be discontinued.

Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Addiction

There are many options available for individuals who are interested in pursuing Buprenorphine treatment for opioid addiction for themselves or a loved one. Buprenorphine maintenance treatment programs for substance abuse generally fall into two categories for inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. While a person in recovery can seek treatment through alternative routes that do not require 24/7 care; for the beginning stages of buprenorphine maintenance treatment, in house care is the optimal choice.

Detox Centers

Detoxing safely is the first step towards recovery and a long-lasting treatment program. Before enrolling in a detoxification program for Buprenorphine for opioid withdrawal, the patient will be assessed through a physical examination a full medical background and history will be evaluated to determine the severity of the case and what course of action will be taken to treat the patient. A detox may occur within a hospital or through a fully-equipped medical facility. Buprenorphine for opioid withdrawal will be conducted once the medical practitioners in charge have determined that the patient has abstained from opioid use for the minimum time required.

Treatment Centers

Centers for use of buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid addiction can be completed through inpatient or outpatient care facilities. Due to the complicated nature of the medically assisted treatment, many persons in recovery are best suited for inpatient treatment for Buprenorphine for opioid dependence in residential centers that provide admissions options that vary for 3 months short-term or 6-9 months long-term to experience the best results and reduce the likelihood of an overdose post-detox. During buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment, patients will participate in behavioral therapy and a full schedule of activities and programs that will guide them on the path towards a complete recovery.

Private Treatment

Office-based buprenorphine treatment of opioid use disorder is another option for persons who are looking to enroll in a substance abuse recovery program. This is the best option for individuals who are looking to complete their recovery in a distraction-free environment with access to the best facilities such as gymnasiums, massage therapists, and multiple options for recovery treatment therapies. St. John’s Recovery Place provides safe, compassionate treatment from our opiate addiction rehab center near Orlando, Florida.

How Long Does Buprenorphine Block Opiate Receptors?

Very quickly.

Buprenorphine effects begin working optimally after approximately 40 minutes when the antagonist becomes attached to the receptors in the brain and present in the bloodstream. The full effect will take place within 3 hours or less.

Understanding the Buprenorphine Ceiling Effect

This is known at the point during treatment where an increase of Buprenorphine or other anti-opioid substances eventually reaches the limit of producing positive effects in the patient, known as the final threshold. While an individual can experience the “ceiling effect” with the use of buprenorphine alone- it is likely for persons using buprenorphine simultaneously with other narcotics to avoid the buprenorphine ceiling effect but in turn experience an overdose as a result.

Buprenorphine Side Effects

Buprenorphine does have many benefits associated with its use and treatment for individuals who have suffered from an unwanted dependence. Because of the Buphreonines nature of being a partial opioid, it is possible to experience side effects during use. Associated reactions and buprenorphine side effects may include

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Buprenorphine patch side effects can cause Insatiable cravings
  • Changes to mood and behavioral patterns
  • Increased irritability
  • Fever, chills
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain or irregular heartbeat
  • Reduced respiratory function

Adverse Effects & Warnings

Like any other drug, it is not uncommon for there to be side effects associated with administration and use. Buprenorphine possible side effects are possible, however, generally speaking, buprenorphine adverse effects are not entirely common or severe in nature.

  • Precipitated Withdrawal Risk: It is possible for medically assisted treatment to trigger a Buprenorphine precipitated withdrawal. This can occur with patients that are taking either long-acting or short-acting opioids that are still experiencing lasting effects from the prior narcotics in use. Pregnancy Risk: Buprenorphine pregnancy risk is relatively limited and overall safe for pregnant women to participate in the use of Buprenorphine during their term. Even though the risk is low, it is advised to consult with a primary care physician before participating in MAT therapy while pregnant, Buprenorphine and pregnancy does have inherent risk, it is important to speak with a licensed medical practitioner to evaluate the risks involved.
  • Drug Interactions: Buprenorphine is known to have adverse effects when used in conjunction with certain illicit substances and even some over the counter medications. Buprenorphine drug interactions are not uncommon and it is highly recommended to cease the use of alcohol, sleeping pills, and other narcotics before commencing medically assisted treatment.

How Long Does Buprenorphine Last?

As mentioned above once a patient has been administered the anti-opioid the effects will begin approximately 40 minutes to two hours and the reactions of the drug can potentially last up to 3 days, though its half-life is 24-48 hours on average. The opiates nature of buprenorphine can leave traces behind and can be detected for varying amounts of time:

How long does buprenorphine last?

  • Urine: six days or more
  • Blood: two days or more
  • Hair: three months or more
  • Saliva: three days or more

Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Addiction at SJRP

At St. Johns Recovery Place, we provide comprehensive Buprenorphine treatment for opioid addiction that includes the medically assisted use of Buprenorphine, behavioral treatments, and a variety of therapeutic programming that will promote healthier living and a lifetime of recovery. Contact our admissions team at 833-397-3422 to find out if our opioid rehab program is right for you.

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