Buprenorphine Sublingual Tablet

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Buprenorphine is a medication that is commonly used to help people with opioid addictions manage withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. The medication can be prescribed in numerous forms, including sublingual tablets.

In this article, we will be explaining what these tablets are and what to expect when you take them. We’ll also cover:

  • What the medication can be prescribed for
  • How to use the tablets
  • A comparison to other forms of Buprenorphine
  • Medication interacts, and things to watch out for
  • Side effects of the medication.

Let’s get into it.

What Are Buprenorphine Sublingual Tablets?

Buprenorphine is an FDA-approved medication used to treat opioid addiction as well as pain. The medication helps to control opioid withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings and reduces pain.

The medication is available in numerous forms, including sublingual tablets. These are tablets that are usually taken once a day and left under the tongue to dissolve, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream.

These tablets work by weakly attaching to opioid receptors. They belong to a class of medications called partial opioid agonists, mimicking the effects of stronger opioid medications and drugs without eliciting the same euphoric effects.

Indications for Use

Buprenorphine can be prescribed for several conditions. It is most commonly known for treating opioid dependence, as well as offering a safer alternative to other prescription pain medications to treat pain:

  • Opioid Use Disorder: Buprenorphine can be used in the detoxification stage as part of Medication Assisted Treatment to control withdrawal symptoms in the early stages of addiction recovery.

It can also help control drug cravings, as well as being used as a maintenance therapy

  • Pain Management: Buprenorphine works on opioid receptors, which helps to reduce pain when taken.

Because it is a partial agonist, they are a less addictive alternative to treating pain unlike other pain medications that are full agonists

  • Alcoholism: While uncommon, buprenorphine may be used as a last resort to treat alcoholism.

Your doctor will talk to you about your drug and alcohol use before prescribing this medication, as well as run certain tests to ensure that buprenorphine is safe for you to use.

How to Use Buprenorphine Sublingual Tablets

If buprenorphine sublingual tablets have been prescribed, they are usually taken once a day (though this can vary from person to person).

The tablet is usually placed under the tongue and left to dissolve on its own. It usually takes about 5 to 10 minutes to dissolve fully. During this time, it is important not to eat or drink.

The best way to remember to take your medication each day is to take it at the same time. Most people will take the medication in the morning.

Buprenorphine Sublingual Tablets vs. Other Forms of Buprenorphine

Although buprenorphine sublingual tablets are arguably the most common form of the medication, there are other forms of the drug as well.

Buprenorphine is often combined with an opioid receptor blocker called Naloxone, which blocks the effects of Buprenorphine if it is taken intravenously.

This helps to ensure people are not misusing the medication. This combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone is sold under the brand name Suboxone.

Other forms of buprenorphine include:

  • Sublingual Film: Sublingual buprenorphine films are small squares that are left to dissolve either under the tongue or on the inside of your cheek
  • Transdermal Patches: These patches work like nicotine patches, which are placed on the skin and slowly release buprenorphine. They are usually replaced every week or so
  • Injections: Buprenorphine can also be administered as an injection by a healthcare provider. These injections can last longer – typically weeks or months.

Interactions and Precautions

  • Alcohol: Buprenorphine should not be taken with alcohol. This is because they have similar side effects which can be very dangerous when taken together
  • Depressant Drugs: Buprenorphine has depressant effects. This means that it has the potential to slow breathing, cause drowsiness, and drop your blood pressure – especially if taken with other drugs such as benzodiazepines (benzos), sleeping pills, and barbiturates
  • Other Medications: Some medications may change how buprenorphine works and make it less effective.

It is important to always let your doctor know that you are taking the medication, as certain antibiotics and other medications may interact with buprenorphine.

  • Pregnant Women: Although buprenorphine has been shown to be safe during pregnancy for women with Opioid Use Disorder, it is important to let your doctor know that you are (or are trying to become) pregnant. Your medication dose may need to be adjusted during this time
  • People with Liver Disease: Since your liver has an important role in breaking down Buprenorphine once it has had an effect on your body, people with liver disease may not be able to take this medication as it may cause it to build up in your body.

It is important to let your doctor know if you have had liver problems before so that they can run the necessary tests.

Side Effects of The Buprenorphine Sublingual Tablet

Like most medications, there are a few side effects that you may experience with Buprenorphine.

However, people who have taken opioids for a long period are less likely to experience these as their bodies have become used to opioids.

Some common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth.

It is important to store buprenorphine away from children and people who have not been prescribed the medication, as they are more likely to experience serious side effects such as respiratory depression.

Conclusion

Sublingual buprenorphine is a medication that is used to treat Opioid Use Disorder and helps people who are addicted to opioids both begin and sustain their recovery.

The medication itself is a small pill that is placed under the tongue and left to dissolve.

When taken as prescribed, it is designed to control withdrawal symptoms and reduce drug cravings.

Buprenorphine is also available in other forms, such as patches, films, and injections.

If you are considering the medication to help you on your recovery journey, it is important to discuss your options with a doctor who can help you choose the right path for your sobriety.

FAQs

How long does sublingual buprenorphine take to take effect?

Sublingual buprenorphine either comes as a tablet or film that is placed under the tongue and left to dissolve.

It will then take effect for about 30 minutes to half an hour. The effects last between 1 and 3 days, depending on various factors.

What is the drug buprenorphine used for?

Buprenorphine is a medication that can be prescribed to people with Opioid Use Disorder. It helps treat opioid withdrawal symptoms and helps control drug cravings.

It can also be used to treat alcoholism and is often utilized as a less addictive alternative to other opioids to treat pain.

What are the bad side effects of buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine does not often have side effects for people who are used to taking opioids.

However, for people who are ‘opioid naive’ (haven’t taken opioids before), bad side effects may include nausea, constipation, drowsiness, dizziness, and slowed breathing.

What are the benefits of taking buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine helps to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms and reduces drug cravings, allowing people to detoxify from opioids and maintain sobriety.

Buprenorphine also offers a safer alternative to other prescription pain medications.

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