Suboxone is a medication used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) with a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist that was developed for the treatment of OUD. It interacts with the same receptors as full agonists but has a lower ceiling effect and less potential for misuse. The buprenorphine mechanism of action has advantages over other treatments for this condition. It allows providers to safely treat people with buprenorphine as part of their long-term management plan after detoxifying from opioids. You should only access Suboxone or buprenorphine treatment under the guidance of a qualified provider.

To enjoy the convenience of virtual buprenorphine treatment for OUD, reach out to the prescribers at Confidant Health’s online Suboxone clinic. Our team can provide you with a virtual assessment, prescribe Suboxone care, and conduct teletherapy sessions to help you navigate a healthy recovery from opioids.

Buprenorphine and Opioid Misuse

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, so it has less potential for misuse and a lower ceiling effect than full agonists like oxycodone or hydrocodone. A lower ceiling effect means that you will not experience as much euphoria by taking the medication. This can be beneficial because you are less likely to develop a dependence on buprenorphine or experience an overdose.

The buprenorphine mechanism of action offers a safer, more effective method of managing OUD. For individuals trying to address opioid use disorder, buprenorphine can minimize withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for opioids. You will feel more comfortable and less compelled to access other opioids, with a lesser risk of dependence or addiction than full agonist OUD medications like methadone.

Buprenorphine Indications and Contraindications for Use

As effective as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be for opioid use disorder, each individual responds differently to buprenorphine. What helps one person achieve long-term abstinence may be ineffective or cause adverse effects for another. To determine whether you are a good candidate for treatment with Suboxone or other buprenorphine medications, your provider will use buprenorphine indications and contraindications for use as a guide. 

Buprenorphine Indications for Use

If you have been struggling to cut back on or quit using opioids, buprenorphine can be the missing piece of the puzzle you need to enjoy lasting recovery. Buprenorphine treatment may be right for you if:

  • Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms make it challenging to abstain from opioid misuse.

  • You find it difficult to resist powerful cravings for opioids.

  • You have tried methadone treatment for OUD without success or are not a good candidate.

  • You have a mild to moderate opioid dependence or a short history of opioid misuse.

  • You are committed to managing opioid use disorder but need additional support from medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Since buprenorphine is not sufficient on its own for overcoming OUD, you should be open  to a comprehensive treatment plan that includes therapy. Buprenorphine will minimize discomfort so you can focus on your therapy sessions and adopt healthy lifestyle changes. 

Buprenorphine Contraindications for Use

While buprenorphine can be life-changing for some people seeking to overcome OUD, it is not suitable for everyone. Buprenorphine may not be your best option for OUD treatment if:

  • You have a hypersensitivity or adverse reaction to buprenorphine.

  • You are currently using a full opioid agonist, such as heroin or morphine. Combining a full agonist with a partial agonist can induce acute withdrawal. 

  • You have liver dysfunction. This may not rule you out as a candidate, but your provider will need to adjust the dose and monitor you closely to avoid complications. 

The only way to safely access buprenorphine treatment is through a qualified provider. They can conduct an assessment and determine if this OUD medication is appropriate for your treatment. 

Buprenorphine Mechanism of Action

To understand what makes buprenorphine different from other types of OUD medication, it helps to explore the buprenorphine mechanism of action. Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist that partially activates the opioid receptors in the brain. This partial activation produces mild euphoric feelings but not enough to equal that of full agonists like fentanyl. The result is decreased withdrawal symptoms and cravings without the high risk of dependence or overdose. Buprenorphine’s ceiling effect prevents the medication from creating an intense high, even when misused. This protective effect makes buprenorphine a safer, more effective form of OUD treatment. 

Buprenorphine Absorption

Buprenorphine has poor bioavailability, meaning it is not well absorbed by the body. Your medication is only as good as your body's ability to absorb it, so you must use buprenorphine exactly as prescribed by your provider. If you take buprenorphine orally, such as swallowing the tablet, a considerable portion will break down in the liver and intestine before reaching the enzymes that break it down into active metabolites. This would significantly reduce its efficacy.  

For optimal absorption, buprenorphine should be administered sublingually. Placing the tablet or film under the tongue to dissolve allows for rapid absorption that bypasses the initial breakdown in the liver and intestine. 

Get Virtual Help for OUD with Confidant Health 

If you think buprenorphine treatment may be beneficial for your recovery, talk to the Online Suboxone Doctors at Confidant Health. We take the time to thoroughly assess whether you may be a good candidate for buprenorphine treatment. Find out if buprenorphine is right for you by scheduling an assessment today.