Pros and Cons of Using Buprenorphine for Drug Addiction | AspenRidge

The Pros and Cons of Using Buprenorphine for Drug Addiction

Buprenorphine, also known as buprenex and several other names, is the subject of much debate. The escalating opiate problem in America is driving discussions about treatment options. However, many people still don’t know what buprenorphine is. They also don’t know benefits and drawbacks it offers. This post will give you the rundown on buprenorphine, explain its pros and cons, and compare it to other opiate addiction treatment methods. You should use this information to help make the best decision for your recovery.

What is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is one option for treating opiate addiction. It is an opiate drug designed for long-term pain management and addiction treatment. The drug is manufactured under several different names, including:

  • Buprenex
  • Suboxone
  • Subutex

Drugs like Suboxone are used for opiate replacement therapy. They work by preventing withdrawal symptoms. The drugs also make it harder for users to get high from other opiates. As a result, they can be an extremely effective part of overcoming addiction. These drugs are similar to methadone, which is better known by the public. Methadone has been used for addiction treatment for a longer time than buprenorphine. We’ll compare the two options later. Let’s look at the pros and cons of buprenorphine now.

What are the Pros of Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine has several benefits. However, it’s important to realize that drug replacement options also come with several drawbacks. Therefore, you need to be sure to carefully weigh the pros against the cons when deciding if suboxone can help you or someone you love.

Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the biggest pros for these drugs is that they reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal happens when the body isn’t getting something it’s used to. For example, many people find they get headaches when they go a day or two without caffeine.  This is an example of withdrawal. However, the effects of withdrawal are much worse for opiate addicts. In fact, withdrawal is one of the biggest reasons why addicts have a hard time quitting.

Opiate withdrawal includes several challenges. These challenges make it more difficult to quit using opiate drugs. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Sensitivity to pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain

As a result, it’s easy to see why Buprenex is appealing to those trying to break an addiction. Studies find that, for some people, proper use of an opiate replacement like suboxone increases the odds that they beat their addiction.

Lower Risk of Abuse

Buprenorphine products prescribed to people trying to beat their addiction include another drug, naloxone. This drug reduces the risk of abuse. Naloxone is used by itself to rapidly reverse opiate and opioid overdoses. The naloxone in buprenorphine products prevents users from shooting the drug. Shooting up a drug that contains naloxone causes in the rapid onset of withdrawal symptoms. Patients know this and avoid it.

Lowering the risk of abuse is an important part of any drug intended to help addicts. After all, moving addicts from one addiction to another doesn’t help them get free of their dependency. This is why these drugs are one of the preferred treatment options for fighting addiction.

Taper Addictions

Finally, using suboxone or other replacement options means that users can tapper their addiction. The goal of addiction recovery is to get clean. The use of replacement drugs allows a doctor to control the amount of the drug you get every day. Doctors can gradually lower the amount of the drug over time. As a result, addicts are able to adapt to getting less opiate each day. This helps reduce the risk of returning to drugs.

Almost every patient benefits from a tapering strategy. It makes withdrawal symptoms less intense. Moreover, patients can focus on what caused them to start using. They can do this while they work on getting clean. Therefore, many patients find that buprenorphine treatments work better than other methods of beating addiction.

What are the Cons of Buprenorphine?

However, buprenorphine is not without its drawbacks. Every person is different. This cliche is as true for people struggling with addiction as it is for anyone else. Therefore, some patients find that buprenorphine is not effective. Additionally, buprenex poses other risks as well.

New or Continuing Dependency

The first issue is that some patients are not able to use the drug to reduce their dependency. Instead, they use the drug to maintain a certain level of addiction. These patients have problems tapering off of the drug. As a result, the treatment isn’t as effective for them.

Patients need a level of self-control for replacement drug therapy to be effective. Some patients aren’t ready for this. Others may never be ready. However, this doesn’t mean that those patients are hopeless. Instead, these patients need to use other methods of getting clean.


Another con of using suboxone or a similar product is an overdose. The naloxone in these products prevents shooting them. However, naloxone doesn’t work when taken as a pill. Therefore, patients are tempted to take more suboxone than they are prescribed. In doing so, they risk overdose.

Doctors control how much of the drug is prescribed at any one time. This limits the risk of an overdose. However, patients may be tempted to take more medicine than is safe. This is a larger risk during times of stress.

Risk of Abuse

The naloxone in suboxone prevents intravenous use. However, addicts have found other ways to use buprenex to facilitate abuse. Some people have taken to trading their prescription for street drugs. Drug dealers then sell the buprenex to other addicts. This creates more crime. Additionally, it turns the treatment into fuel to feed an addiction.

Additionally, patients may take more than their prescribed amount of suboxone. This is still abusing the medicine, even if it doesn’t result in an overdose. Patients who do this won’t get the benefits of the drug. Moreover, the drug won’t be as helpful in helping them overcome their addiction.

Pros and Cons of Methadone vs Suboxone

People looking to beat their opiate addiction need access to the best possible treatment options. Therefore, many of those people wonder if methadone or suboxone is a better choice for them. It’s important to make these decisions under the advice of a trained and certified professional. However, it’s also important to know the different pros and cons of each option so you can have an informed conversation about them.

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a drug that treats long-term pain. It is also used as an opiate replacement drug. Methadone is used to decrease withdrawal symptoms. Unlike other opiate replacements, methadone is obtained from a clinic on a daily basis.

Methadone comes with its own series of pros and cons. Some of these are the same as the advantages and drawbacks of buprenorphine. We’ll look at the unique pros and cons of methadone. After that, we’ll compare methadone and suboxone. Patients should use this information to make a decision about the best treatment option for them. It is important to make this decision with the advice of a doctor.

Pros of Methadone

Methadone shares many pros with suboxone. It tapers a patient’s addiction. This can help recovering addicts fight withdrawal symptoms. As a result, many patients find that it is an effective treatment option. More people have success with a replacement drug than simply giving up drugs.

More Research

Methadone had been used as an opiate replacement for longer than other drug options. Therefore, doctors and scientists have a better idea how it works. They know the situations where the drug is most effective. This research helps control the drawbacks of methadone.

Controlled Access

Methadone also has a lower risk of abuse. Patients get methadone every day from a clinic. The clinic monitors their dose. The clinic also makes sure they take their dose. This stops patients from hoarding the drug. It also prevents patients from selling it or trading it for street drugs.

Public Funding

Another benefit of methadone is that some areas fund methadone clinics. This isn’t true everywhere though. However, patients without financial resources can get cheaper treatment if their area has a publicly funded clinic. This can put the treatment within reach for people who otherwise couldn’t get it. These programs generally don’t include buprenorphine treatment. As a result, methadone may be more cost-effective for some patients.

Cons of Methadone

Methadone comes with many of the same cons as buprenex. Patients risk developing a new addiction to methadone. Additionally, patients abuse methadone if it isn’t controlled. Methadone has many of the same side effects. These include nausea, cramps, sweating, anxiety, and other problems. However, many people feel that the side effects are better than withdrawal symptoms.

Controlled Access

The controlled access to methadone can also be a problem. Patients that can’t come to the clinic can’t get their dose. Therefore, they are more likely to turn to street drugs. Additionally, patients have a harder time traveling. This is because they need to stay near the clinic.

As a result, patients who need to travel might not benefit from methadone. Moreover, patients that don’t have access to a clinic won’t be able to use this option.

Fewer Chemical Safeguards

Another con of methadone is that it doesn’t contain naloxone. Therefore, patients who can get it away from the clinic can shoot it. This creates a risk of an overdose. Moreover, methadone addicts can find this drug on the street. It treats chronic pain. As a result, methadone treatment can fuel an addiction instead of stopping it.

Methadone or Suboxone: Which is Better?

A doctor should help you choose between methadone and suboxone. However, there are a few factors that can make the decision easier.

Buprenorphine or suboxone is a better option for people who are prone to using needles. The naloxone in them prevents this kind of abuse. They are also better if you travel. Most pharmacies carry these drugs. Therefore, if you don’t have access to a clinic, they might be the only option.

Suboxone also does a better job of providing relief from withdrawal symptoms without getting the patient high. Methadone can be used to get high. Buprenorphine and suboxone create a sort of ceiling on the effect. Users can’t get past this ceiling. This helps users view the medicine as medicine instead of a drug.

Methadone is a better option for patients with less self-control. The restricted access limits temptation. Additionally, getting methadone every day helps to establish a set schedule. This is important for developing a routine. A set routine benefits patients. It helps to structure their day. This provides stability, which is important when fighting addiction.

Methadone is also better for patients who are sensitive to different drugs. There is more research on methadone. It has been used in opiate replacement therapy for 50 years. Buprenorphine has only been used for 16 years. Therefore, doctors have a better understanding of methadone. They’ll make a more accurate prediction of how the patient will respond.

Buprenorphine: Making a Decision

Fighting addiction is hard. Opiate addictions are among the hardest to fight. Replacement drugs can help patients. However, patients need to be careful. They should weigh the pros and cons of each choice. If a patient chooses replacement drugs they need to pick which one to use. Patients should make this choice with a doctor. Medical professionals know how to pick the best option.

The most important thing is to pick an option that will help. Patients need to avoid making a choice based on fear. These choices center on a fear of not being high. This is not the goal of replacement therapy. Instead, you should pick the option that best reduces withdrawal. Doing so helps the tapering process. This makes it easier to beat addiction.

The best choice is the one that helps the most. Understand yourself and your addiction. Use that understanding and this information to make an informed choice. Recovery is hard. However, the right tool makes it a bit easier.

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