Buprenorphine Program

Buprenorphine (‘bu-pre-‘nor-feen) (Suboxone®, Subutex®, Zubsolv®, Bunavail™, Probuphine®) is an opioid medication used to treat opioid addiction. Buprenorphine can be dispensed for take-home use, by prescription, in an amount equal to one month’s worth of medication. This, in addition to the pharmacological and safety profile of buprenorphine, makes it an attractive treatment for patients addicted to opioids.

Buprenorphine has unique pharmacological properties that help:

  • Lower the potential for misuse
  • Diminish the effects of physical dependency to opioids, such as withdrawal symptoms and cravings
  • Increase safety in cases of overdose

Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist. This means that, like opioids, it activates the opioid receptors in the brain, but only partially, and to a much lesser degree than a full agonist. It can produce effects such as euphoria or respiratory depression, but these effects are far weaker than those of full agonists such as heroin and methadone. This makes it much safer, and much less likely to be abused.

And, Buprenorphine also acts as an antagonist, meaning it also blocks the effects of the full opiate agonists. So, it blocks the effects of others while allowing for some opioid effect of its own to suppress withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Also, because buprenorphine is very long-acting, many patients may not have to take it every day, and even those that do are assured to not have the inter-dose withdrawal often seen with other shorter-acting agents.

Buprenorphine’s side effects are similar to those of other opioids and can include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and constipation
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Cravings
  • Inability to sleep
  • Distress and irritability
  • Fever

The ideal candidates for opioid dependency treatment with buprenorphine:

  • Have been objectively diagnosed with an opioid dependency
  • Are willing to follow safety precautions for the treatment
  • Have been cleared of any health conflicts with using buprenorphine
  • Have reviewed other treatment options before agreeing to buprenorphine treatment

How Treatment Works

01. Initial Evaluation

To begin Buprenorphine treatment at our clinic, you will be required to complete a clinical evaluation to assess if Medication Assisted Treatment is right for you. This process involves gathering information on your physical and psychosocial health, as well as past and present drug use. Every patient, including transfers to the program, must complete this screening before beginning treatment.

02. The Induction Phase -

is the medically monitored startup of buprenorphine treatment performed in a qualified physician’s office using approved buprenorphine products. The medication is administered when a person with an opioid dependency has abstained from using opioids for 12 to 24 hours and is in the early stages of opioid withdrawal. It is important to note that buprenorphine can bring on acute withdrawal for patents who are not in the early stages of withdrawal and who have other opioids in their bloodstream.

03. The Stabilization Phase -

begins after a patient has discontinued or greatly reduced their misuse of the problem drug, no longer has cravings, and experiences few, if any, side effects. The buprenorphine dose may need to be adjusted during this phase. Because of the long-acting agent of buprenorphine, once patients have been stabilized, they can sometimes switch to alternate-day dosing instead of dosing every day.

04. The Maintenance Phase -

occurs when a patient is doing well on a steady dose of buprenorphine. The length of time of the maintenance phase is tailored to each patient and could be indefinite. Once an individual is stabilized, an alternative approach would be to go into a medically supervised withdrawal, which makes the transition from a physically dependent state smoother. People then can engage in further rehabilitation—with or without MAT—to prevent a possible relapse.

Cost of Treatment

01. Initial Evaluation

The initial evaluation typically lasts from 60-90 minutes and costs $265.00.

02. The Induction Phase -

Induction consists of a series of visits and/or phone contacts beginning first thing in the morning and lasting through-out a period of 1-2 days. The visits and contacts are generally short but allow for the necessary monitoring as we titrate the buprenorphine to the desired dose. The cost for the induction process is fixed at $350.00.

03. The Stabilization Phase -

These visits typically take about 20-30 minutes and costs $120-160 per monthly visit.

04. The Maintenance Phase -

These visits typically take about 15-20 minutes and costs $120-160 per monthly visit.

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