Text Size
Smaller
Bigger
Buprenorphine

Getting High on Suboxone? The FDA Says It's Happening - Ex NIDA Director Blames Doctors

Comments (105)
posted 03:13 PM EST, Sun February 24, 2008
-- filed under: | | | |

Users taking Suboxone to stave off the withdrawal pains of an opiate addiction aren't supposed to be able to abuse the medication. That was the idea anyway when the FDA approved the drug in 2002 for take-home use. Today's thriving street market for the drug has the FDA change its tune.

Buprenorphine, often sold under the trade name Suboxone, has been widely touted as a better methadone; a pill opiate addicts take to keep withdrawal symptoms and cravings at bay – a drug that is supposed to have little risk for abuse.

Suboxone contains buprenorphine, a partial opiate which binds to opiate receptors in the brain, allowing addicts to function normally without feeling the effects of withdrawal. It also contains a second ingredient, an opiate antagonist present in minute quantities, which is supposed to prevent people from abusing the drug.

This opiate antagonist does nothing when the drugs are taken as directed, but should a user crush and snort or inject the medication, it blocks the effects of the buprenorphine - and in fact sends the user into immediate withdrawal sickness.

That's what's supposed to happen anyway, and it's for this reason that doctors are permitted to prescribe as many as 30 take-home pills per visit.

Federal regulators now acknowledge that some users seem to be injecting the crushed tablets to get high, that there exists a thriving street market for the drug and that certain doctors seem to be prescribing the drugs outside of the bounds of good medical practices.

This diversion of the drug was a key topic at a recent private two day summit in Washington, in which medical experts discussed the use present and future of the drug, a drug now used by an estimated 170 000 on a daily basis.

FDA medical officer Dr. Celia Winchell admitted that users were able to abuse the drug by injecting it, and added "We're concerned about diversion and abuse." She suggested that the packaging at present may be missing some important warning patient information.

Other experts suggest that resolving the problem would occur most effectively through greater training for doctors and through a tighter monitoring of use. Currently, doctors must attend only a single day seminar prior to achieving Suboxone licensure, after which they may prescribe as many as 30 pills per patient per visit, and to each patient 5 times.

Dr. Charles R. Schuster, former director of NIDA, explains that, "A small minority of doctors are not practicing good medicine." He contends that although it may be legal for a doctor to prescribe a full 30 day supply after a first visit, it is neither expedient nor good care, and contends that doctors should get to know patients prior to prescribing full dosage quantities.

The general consensus, however, is that even with a certain level of abuse, Suboxone therapy remains one of the most promising treatments for opiate addiction.

 

 

Share It Share this page on Google+, Facebook or Twitter Email It Send this page Print It Print friendly page Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category
Creative Commons License
Copyright Notice
We welcome republishing of our content on condition that you credit Choose Help and the respective authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
24 hours ★ confidential ★ free
Helpful Information
Suboxone: How Long Does Treatment Take?
How Long to Stay on Suboxone – Advice from a Suboxone Doc © Zamboni.Andrea
Four pieces of advice on how long you’ll need to use Suboxone from one of America’s leading experts on the use of the drug. Read Article
Suboxone & Methadone February 20, 2012 (90)
OTC Meds for Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
OTC and Prescription Medications Used to Alleviate Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms © Danielle Zeda
A list of SAMHSA recommended medications for managing the withdrawal symptoms that occur during Suboxone tapering. Read Article
Comparing Zubsolv with Suboxone
Zubsolv vs. Suboxone: Similarities and Differences © Or Hiltch
Zubsolv is a new drug for opiate dependence. Like Suboxone, it’s composed of a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Read on to learn about how it works and how it differs from Suboxone. Read Article
Drug Rehab December 17, 2013 (16)
Like Our Site? Follow Us!
Related Internet Links
NAABT.org The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment
NIDA The National Institute on Drug Abuse

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.