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Buprenorphine: Purpose, Dosage & Side Effects

Buprenorphine has been used as an opioid medication since October 2002 after the approval of Food and Drug Administration of America. It is a semi-synthetic opioid or an opioid partial agonist. It means that it can produce euphoria and respiratory depression but its maximal effects are less than those of full agonists such as methadone and heroin.The medication has ceiling effects. Its proper usage doesn’t lead to addiction and any life threatening side effects compared to opioids. The drug has a higher affinity, therefore it is able to block the effects of full opioid agonist and doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms.

Key Features

Less euphoric

Less physical independence

Lower potential of misusing

Higher affinity to control other opioid use

Mild withdrawal symptoms that can be managed

Reduces carving of heroin and enhance treatment retention


It is available as a sublingual tablet, injection form and transdermal patches. Only prescribed dosage should be taken. The early dosage known as “Test doses”  enables the patient and clinician to monitor the response of the medication. In some people, the early dosages are not enough to prevent withdrawal symptoms. The level of dosage of  Buprenorphine is increased as per the respond. Patients who have heroin addiction history, the first dose is recommended at least 4 hours after the patient last used the opioid. The appropriate usage of the medication may:

  • Supress withdrawal symptoms
  • Decrease carvings for heroin or other drug abuse
  • Block the effects of other opioids
  • Control in opioid use


People with known hyper sensitivity or have a severe side-effect from previous exposure to Buprenorphine should avoid it. Nursing mothers and pregnant women are ineligible for the medication treatment. There is insufficient evidence that the opioid drug is safe for mothers and pregnant ladies.

Some precautions should be observed when recommending buprenorphine. Precautions in dosage of the medication is required when the patient is facing any concomitant medical conditions like recent head injury, chronic obstructive airways diseases, acute abdominal conditions, severe hepatic diseases, severe depression and acute psychosis.

Side Effects

 Immediately see your doctor if any of these side effects occur while taking buprenorphine.

 Blurred vision

 Difficulty in breathing

 Confusion

 Drowsiness

 Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness

 Sleepiness

 Unusual tiredness

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