Buprenorphine: Offering a Safer Alternative to Methadone in Opioid Addiction Treatment

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Advanced Spine And Rehab discusses Medical Options for Opioid Addiction

For a forty-year span ranging from the 1960s until 2000, methadone was the primary method used when treating opioid addiction with narcotic replacement therapy. While methadone helped to reduce the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal, it created addiction risks for those who used it as a form of treatment. When buprenorphine was introduced in 2000, however, the risk of addiction through narcotic replacement therapy was severely reduced. Furthermore, buprenorphine helped to make narcotic replacement therapy more readily accessible due to its classification as a Schedule III drug.

Classified as a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act, methadone presents additional risks that are not associated with the Schedule III buprenorphine. As such, methadone can only be prescribed by doctors who are registered under the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Narcotic Treatment Program. Furthermore, the medication can only be dispensed by authorized clinics. Buprenorphine, on the other hand, can be prescribed by any doctor who has received specialized training and is certified by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

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Like heroin and other drugs derived from morphine, buprenorphine belongs to a class of drugs known as opiate agonists. This means it contains chemicals that link with the opioid receptors in the brain, thereby helping to reduce pain while also producing feelings of well-being. For these reasons, buprenorphine was actually prescribed as a pain reliever before it was approved for opioid addiction treatment.

If you or someone you love need opioid addiction treatment, contact Advanced Spine & Rehab to learn more about using buprenorphine as part of a treatment program.