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What Is Buprenorphine and Naloxone Used For?

If you are dependent on an opioid medication, your healthcare provider may prescribe buprenorphine and naloxone. This medicine is less likely to be abused via injection than a buprenorphine-only medication; when buprenorphine and naloxone is injected, the naloxone component counteracts the opioid buprenorphine. Buprenorphine and naloxone is approved for use in adults only. Off-label uses may include treating pain or depression.

An Introduction to Uses of Buprenorphine and Naloxone

Buprenorphine and naloxone (Suboxone®) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of opioid dependence. It is used to replace other opioid medications, including both legal medications (like morphine) and illegal drugs (like heroin). It can be used for the long-term maintenance of opioid dependence or to help gradually wean people off opioids.
 
Because it is an opioid, buprenorphine and naloxone can be abused. This medication is particularly susceptible to abuse via injection. To help prevent this problem, this drug combines buprenorphine with naloxone.
 
The naloxone component has little effect when it is taken as directed under the tongue. However, if buprenorphine and naloxone is injected, the naloxone component of the drug cancels out the action of buprenorphine, potentially causing withdrawal symptoms. This helps to prevent abuse.
 
For this reason, almost everyone who needs long-term treatment for opioid dependence outside of a treatment center should receive buprenorphine and naloxone, rather than a buprenorphine-only medication, such as Subutex® (sublingual buprenorphine).
 
Usually, people are started on Subutex (the formulation without naloxone), particularly when they are withdrawing from their previous opioid use, but should be switched to buprenorphine and naloxone for outpatient treatment. Only people who do not tolerate buprenorphine and naloxone should stay on Subutex for long-term treatment.
 
Alternative Therapies for Pain Management

Buprenorphine and Naloxone Drug Information

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