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Suboxone Drug Information

Suboxone is the trade name for the combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. In this article, we shall briefly discuss this combination medication in a bit more detail and talk about how they act.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a combination of the opioid drug buprenorphine and the opioid receptor blocker naloxone.

Is Suboxone an opiate?

In a general sense, suboxone is not an opiate drug. It does however have buprenorphine which is a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it blocks some receptors that are normally sites where opioids act. Naloxone on the other hand blocks these receptors, so is useful in helping get over opioid addiction.

Mechanism of action

If we look at the individual components of suboxone, it is evident their mechanisms of action are different. The ultimate goal of using suboxone is to treat opioid dependence.

Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic partial opioid receptor antagonist. In simple terms, it attaches to the mu-opioid receptors and the kappa receptor, promoting the former and blocking the latter. This makes it a useful drug in managing opioid addiction in the early stages (as Subutex), as it would provide the same effects as heroin but at the same time will be blocking the receptors as well, making the transition away from regular opioids. This partial agonistic activity helps to control withdrawal symptoms and cravings. To an extent, patients get the same high as they would have with opioids, though this feeling is not as dramatic. The affinity of buprenorphine for mu receptors is extremely strong, so any opioids taken on top of that will fail to bind to them and give the individual the feeling they would expect.

Nalaxone is used in hospitals to manage patients who have taken an overdose of morphine based drugs. In Suboxone, it is used to manage opioid dependence. The combination in suboxone is used in maintenance therapy in opioid addiction. Buprenorphine blocks the mu receptors long term while naloxone counteracts any other opioids that may be taken during the maintenance phase.

Suboxone is a combination of the partial opioid agonist buprenorphine and opioid receptor antagonist naloxone, that is used in the management of opioid dependence.

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