Buprenorphine/Naloxone Medical Uses
So why are the two drugs combined in the first place? The answer is that due to naloxone’s properties, it can be used as a safeguard against buprenorphine abuse.
Naloxone’s Effectiveness as a Sublingual Drug
Naloxone is most effective when it is injected. When it is delivered sublingually, as buprenorphine/naloxone is meant to be taken, it has almost no effect at all. In other words, naloxone doesn’t block the effect of buprenorphine when taken as directed.
Use of Buprenorphine
Buprenorphine is prescribed as part of a drug addiction recovery regimen. It is a way for opioid users to safely wean off of heroin, prescription pain pills and other narcotics without experiencing the agonizing, drawn-out and sometimes fatal withdrawal symptoms that occur when quitting cold turkey.
Buprenorphine is an opioid presented in a lower dose than an addict is used to. Therefore, there may still be some uncomfortable symptoms that occur as the body adjusts to lower opioid levels, but medication-assisted detox is regarded as a safer alternative to quitting opioids all at once.
Combining Buprenorphine/Naloxone to Discourage Abuse
Injecting opioids results in a quicker and more intense high, and the scientists who developed buprenorphine/naloxone recognized an opportunity to discourage buprenorphine from being used this way. If buprenorphine/naloxone is injected, the naloxone is activated and blocks the opioids from working correctly, thwarting a user’s efforts to abuse the drug that is meant to help them get clean.