It helps prevent withdrawal symptoms in those who have stopped taking other narcotics like OxyContin
or heroin. The analgesic comes in two forms – tablets and a transdermal patch. Those who misuse the drug
often inject it intravenously or inhale the crushed tablets through the nose. Strong warnings urge users not to crush or chew the sublingual tablets.
Study Shows Many Patients Not Warned About The Dangers of Buprenorphine
The Waismann Method, a world-renowned opiate dependency treatment, released a survey on buprenorphine, showing that 70% of responders taking the drug to treat an opiate dependency reported they became dependent on it and needed treatment to stop.
The study was undertaken after reports surfaced, saying buprenorphine is effective in treating addictions to prescription painkillers. Dr. Clifford Bernstein, the Waismann Method’s medical director, says he’s noticed an increase in patients needing to detox from buprenorphine, which had been prescribed to help them. Results also show that 53% of responders were told by their doctors that buprenorphine would cure their opiate addiction
. On top of that, 50% reported they were never told by doctors that it could also be habit-forming.
Painkiller Overdoses Are On The Rise
The National Safety Council reported earlier this year that deaths from accidental drug overdoses are on the rise and that prescription painkillers can be blamed for many of the cases.
According to WebMD, the biggest rise in these accidental deaths is among men and women between the ages of 20 and 64. And many of these cases have been attributed to overdoses of prescriptions including buprenorphine, oxycodone
Buprenorphine is currently prescribed under the names Suboxone
and Subutex. Because it can be prescribed in pill form in the privacy of a doctor’s office, it doesn’t carry the same stigma that standing in line at a methadone clinic does. Doctors must receive special certification to prescribe buprenorphine for opiate dependency.
They should be obligated to be up front with patients about its potential to lead to addiction
. Otherwise, many of them will have false hope that their opiate addiction will be cured.
As a result of the Waismann study, Dr. Bernstein said doctors need to educate patients that buprenorphine is a replacement therapy for opiate addiction and is 50% opiate in composition. “Buprenorphine is being sold as a miracle cure that will put an end to opiate dependency, and it has been embraced as a social cure for reducing crime and for preventing the spread of disease,” he said.