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General information about (Suboxone) Buprenorphine-Naloxone

What is the Drug Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA)?

DATA made it legal for qualified physicians to prescribe an opioid for treatment of addiction.  It allows an opioid addicted patient to receive opioid medication for detox or maintenance in a regular office setting, rather than a methadone clinic.  The law set out educational / certification requirements that require the physician to have training in opioid addiction treatment and special registration with the Drug Enforcement Administration DEA.

What is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is used in treatment of those addicted to opioids.  While it also is an opioid, its unique pharmacological properties provide many benefits to patients with opiate addiction.  Buprenorphine is what is called a partial agonist, which means that while it does binds to the nerve receptors it does not do so as much as a full agonist.  A full agonist has what is called affinity for receptors and bind / activate the receptor, creating a greater response from that receptor.  Some examples of full agonists are oxycodone, morphine, methadone, hydrocodone, opium, heroin and others.


Buprenorphine is generally accepted to have a lower potential for misuse, diminished physical dependence such as withdrawal and increased safety in cases of overdose.

What is Naloxone?

Naloxone is present as an abuse detterent to discourage misuse.  If one were to try to tamper with most Buprenorphine/Naloxone medications, the Naloxone would work to neutralize the the opioid.  It blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system, countering their effects.

How do opiates work?

Opiates work by altering the way that pain is perceived.  They mimic chemicals in your brain and body that attach to tiny parts on neve cells called opioid receptors.  These receptors play different roles, but they are generally responsible for the pleasurable effects from opiates and their ability to reduce pain.  

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