Benefits and Risks of Using Buprenorphine

Benefits and Risks of Using BuprenorphineBuprenorphine is a drug approved for use in the treatment of opiate addiction. The drug prevents withdrawal symptoms from drugs like heroin, morphine and other narcotic pain relievers. It works by mimicking the side effects of these drugs while allowing the body to wean itself from opiate dependence. Using buprenorphine to treat opiate addiction has some benefits over the use of methadone. It is longer lasting than methadone so it doesn’t have to be taken as often, and it is available as a tablet, so it can be used at home. Buprenorphine does have some risk of addiction, but using the drug as prescribed by your doctor reduces those risks. Understanding the side effects and withdrawal symptoms of the drug as well the potential dangers is the best way to determine if buprenorphine is right for you.

Side Effects of Buprenorphine

All medications cause some side effects. Since buprenorphine mimics the effects of opiate drugs, the side effects can be similar. People who use the drug as a pain reliever or to treat opiate addiction may experience the following:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety or other mood changes
  • Irregular heartbeat

Because buprenorphine is used to treat opiate addiction, withdrawal from either drug can produce similar symptoms. If you or a loved one is using buprenorphine to control an opiate addiction, it’s important to take the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The following withdrawal symptoms may occur while using buprenorphine if the medication is stopped abruptly:

  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Abnormal skin sensation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tremor or shivering
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia

If withdrawal symptoms are present when buprenorphine is stopped, an addiction has likely developed.

Benefits and Risks of Buprenorphine

Using buprenorphine to treat addiction can be helpful when weaning a person from opiate dependence, as the risk of addiction to buprenorphine is much lower. There is a chance that one addiction may be swapped for another, but for some, the benefits of getting free from opiates far outweigh the risk of developing dependence on buprenorphine.  Buprenorphine is also easier to use than methadone as each dose is longer lasting and can be taken at home.

The most obvious risk of using buprenorphine is that of addiction. When a person is addicted to any drug there is also the risk of serious health complications and overdose. Using buprenorphine exactly as prescribed by your physician will reduce the risk of developing dependence on the drug.

Find Help for Buprenorphine Addiction

Buprenorphine can be a useful tool in your battle against opiate addiction. However, there is a risk of developing a secondary addiction when using this drug. If you or a loved one struggles with buprenorphine addiction, we are here to help. Our trained, toll-free helpline counselors are ready 24 hours a day to answer your questions about addiction and the treatment options that are available. Call now.

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