Buprenorphine lessens the brain’s craving for other opiates, which allows some people to slowly taper off their original drug of choice.
Withdrawal symptoms for buprenorphine can be less severe than those of other opiates, but buprenorphine still has the potential for addiction. Many physicians now question the use of buprenorphine in addiction treatment, as it often influences patients to simply switch their addiction from one drug to another.
“Eventually, I was tired of being a slave to chasing my high, I was told about suboxone (a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone) and thought it was the cure-all. I should have educated myself a bit more and had a plan about the length of time I would stay on it. I was prescribed suboxone for almost six years at the same dose — 16mg daily. I know this drug has its place, but I believe it needs to be prescribed along with therapy and the understanding it is additive in its own right and it is incredibly hard to come off of.”
— Read more of Amy J.’s story at HeroesInRecovery.com
How Does Buprenorphine Dependence Begin?
Buprenorphine is not as highly addictive as some other drugs, but continued use of buprenorphine does increase all risk of addiction. When taken as a pain reliever, buprenorphine does not actually eliminate pain, but rather changes how the user perceives pain. As time progresses, anyone could develop a tolerance for buprenorphine and require a larger dose in order to feel its pain-relieving effects.
You may develop an addiction to buprenorphine much more quickly if you take this drug for recreational purposes. Buprenorphine is taken orally or sometimes snorted or even injected. Recreational buprenorphine users even sometimes inject buprenorphine in order to increase its effects. This method of administration may provide a quick high, but at the high cost of increased risk of overdose and increased risk of addiction. Buprenorphine addiction requires a constant use of this drug at a high dosage.
What Are the Dangers of Buprenorphine Use and Addiction?
Although buprenorphine is used in opioid addiction treatment, buprenorphine abuse can lead to a life-consuming addiction that can destroy relationships, careers, and health. Buprenorphine addiction results in a life that is controlled by a drug. Buprenorphine also poses many physical dangers and health concerns. Intravenous injection can lead to hepatitis or necrosis. Similar to other opiates, buprenorphine can cause drowsiness, vomiting and potentially fatal respiratory depression.
Buprenorphine is especially dangerous when combined with other drugs or alcohol. Combining drugs is dangerous and greatly increases the chance of serious complication or death. Even at a low dosage, combining buprenorphine with other drugs can cause a fatal overdose.
Complications or signs of overdose may include the following:
- Respiratory depression
- Convulsions or seizures
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular or slowed heartbeat
- Prolonged nausea or vomiting
- Mental confusion, dizziness or drowsiness
Buprenorphine Addiction is Dangerous
It doesn’t matter if you used buprenorphine recreationally, or if it was prescribed by a physician; anyone can develop an addiction to buprenorphine. Addiction is life-threatening, and it can destroy even the greatest of relationships, careers, and dreams.
Rehab can provide a fresh start for anyone struggling with a buprenorphine addiction. Even if you have tried treatment before, you should that newer and more effective treatment methods exist. With the right help, there is hope for anyone to find long-term addiction recovery. Call 844-496-9429 now.
Further Reading About How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Buprenorphine?
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.
Reviewed by: Kim Chin and Marian Newton