Dosing Information for Buprenorphine and Naloxone
dose your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
- The type and dosage of other opioids you have been taking
- How you respond to the medication
- Other medications you are taking
- Other medical conditions you may have.
As is always the case, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically tells you to do so.
What If I Overdose on This Medicine?
An overdose of this medication can be quite dangerous and even fatal. It is important that you seek immediate medical attention if you or someone else may have overdosed on buprenorphine and naloxone.
How Does It Work?
This medicine contains buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid narcotic medication. It binds to specific types of opioid receptors, called opioid mu receptors, which are located throughout the body. While the main effects of buprenorphine occur in the central nervous system, buprenorphine can produce effects anywhere opioid mu receptors are found.
Interestingly, buprenorphine is a partial (not full) agonist of mu receptors. This means that it binds to the receptors, but only partially activates them. This usually translates into less of a chance of abuse, although this is not always the case.
Compared to full agonists, such as morphine
, partial agonists, including buprenorphine and naloxone, usually have a "ceiling effect." This means that there is a certain dosage after which taking more of the drug does not cause any further effects. This might make buprenorphine and naloxone less dangerous than full agonist drugs, particularly in the case of an overdose.
Buprenorphine does not work well when taken by mouth (when swallowed), as only a small amount of the medication is actually absorbed into the bloodstream (mainly because it is destroyed by the liver first). However, buprenorphine and naloxone is dissolved under the tongue and is absorbed directly through the tissues, avoiding this "first-pass effect" of the liver.
This medication contains naloxone mostly to help prevent abuse of the medication via injection. When taken as directed (dissolved under the tongue), naloxone usually has no noticeable effects.
However, when injected, naloxone can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, as it is essentially an antidote to opioids. This makes buprenorphine and naloxone less likely to be abused by injection and may also limit the dangerous problems in the case of an overdose. However, an overdose on this drug can still cause life-threatening complications.