The National Alliance of Advocates
for Buprenorphine Treatment

Buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®3, Zubsolv®4, Bunavail™5, Probuphine®6) is an opioid medication used to treat opioid addiction in the privacy of a physician's office.1 Buprenorphine can be dispensed for take-home use, by prescription.1 This, in addition to the pharmacological and safety profile of buprenorphine, makes it an attractive treatment for patients addicted to opioids.2

Buprenorphine Overview

If you are just beginning to learn about Buprenorphine or want to explain it to someone, following are the most important points to know.


1. Eliminates cravings - and withdrawal symptoms in opioid dependent people. References
2. Less abusable – does not produce strong euphoria like other opioids, likely to cause withdrawal if misused. References
3. Ceiling effect – cannot achieve a “high” from taking more than prescribed. This means that someone cannot overdose on Buprenorphine alone, when taken sublingually. References
4. Blocking effect – cannot get "high" from using other opiates
(heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin, etc.) while taking Buprenorphine. References
5. Safe – side effects are similar to, but milder than, the opioid someone is trying to discontinue. Does not impair or intoxicate the patient. References
6. Long lasting – up to 72 hours. References
7. Fast-acting results – many people feel the effects within minutes of
their first dose. References
8. Prescribed in the privacy of a doctor’s office – no one needs to know except the doctor and the patient. Pick up medication weekly or monthly in a pharmacy not daily in a clinic. References
9. Immediate return to work – no time lost to “adjusting” to the medication or stays in a rehabilitation facility. References
10. When diverted to the streets, it is still used for its indication, not misused. Not a desirable choice for the misuser. References
11. Required dosage does not increase with time (unlike with other opioids). References
12. Has shown effectiveness in treating refractory depression and pain. References
13. Because cravings are gone, it allows the individual to focus on
the underlying reasons for the addiction. References
14. Dependency is less likely than with other opioids and Buprenorphine is easier to discontinue. References
15. Doctors must take an 8-hour class to prescribe and are limited by law, to only treating 30 patients at any one time. References
This page was last modified on : 10/28/2013

The Purpose of Buprenorphine Treatment:

To suppress the debilitating symptoms of cravings and withdrawal, enabling the patient to engage in therapy, counseling and support, so they can implement positive long-term changes in their lives which develops into the new healthy patterns of behavior necessary to achieve sustained addiction remission. - explain -

The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment is a non-profit organization charged with the mission to:

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Talk Paper, T0238, October 8, 2002, Subutex and Suboxone approved to treat opiate dependence.
  2. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 40. DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 04-3939. Rockville, Md: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2004.
  3. Subutex Discontinued in the US market in late 2011.
  4. Zubsolv (bup/nx sublingual tablet) FDA approved 7/3/2013 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic -in pharmacies now.
  5. Bunavail (bup/nx bucal film) FDA approved 6/6/2014 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic -in pharmacies now.
  6. Probuphine FDA approved 5/26/2016 - FDA Probuphine press release