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What Are Buprenorphine and Naloxone Combination Medications?

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The FDA approved buprenorphine and combination buprenorphine medications in 2002. This medicine for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) gives patients and doctors additional options. Manufacturers can combine buprenorphine with the compound naloxone to make the MAT experience safer. Keep reading to learn more about this combination medication and its benefits.

What Is Buprenorphine and Naloxone Combination Medication?

Buprenorphine and naloxone are both independently FDA-approved medications with applications for substance use treatment. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that manages opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Since it activates the opioid receptors, although not to the extent of full agonist opioids, it can fulfill the brain’s need for opiates with fewer adverse effects. As a result, the patient can focus on developing recovery skills. Buprenorphine has a property known as a “ceiling effect” which limits the feelings of euphoria or “high” that can be experienced. At a certain point the effect of the medication will taper off no matter how much more of the medication is taken. Combined with naloxone’s benefits, buprenorphine can help patients stay committed to treatment.

The Benefits of Adding Naloxone to Buprenorphine

Naloxone enhances the opioid-blocking properties of buprenorphine and discourages misuse. It has the primary function of reversing opioid overdose by removing opiates from the brain’s receptors in a medication known most commonly by the brand name Narcan®. Combining naloxone with buprenorphine has the following advantages for MAT:

  • Deterring misuse: When someone injects buprenorphine with naloxone, it causes immediate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. However, it doesn’t produce strong withdrawal effects when the patient takes it by mouth. This interaction encourages the patient to take their medicine as directed.
  • Blocking the effects of other opioids: Naloxone prevents other opioids from causing euphoric feelings. This effect helps the patient stay committed to treatment by making opiate drugs less tempting to use.

Many buprenorphine-based MAT programs use combination medications that contain naloxone to improve the treatments effectiveness. These benefits guide patients toward their treatment goals and reduce the risk of relapse.

Naloxone and Buprenorphine Combination Medicine Types

Naloxone and buprenorphine medicines come in a variety of forms. Brand names for buprenorphine and naloxone combinations include:

  • Suboxone®
  • Zubsolv®

These medications are offered in a number of different formulations including:

  • Sublingual tablets: Tablets placed under the tongue to dissolve
  • Sublingual films: Individual films put under the tongue to dissolve
  • Buccal films: Individual films placed between the gum and cheek to dissolve

A MAT patient’s medication type will depend on the clinic’s available options, approved treatments in their state and the best treatment option based on the patient’s needs.

Treatment With Buprenorphine and Naloxone Medication

During a MAT program with buprenorphine and naloxone, you can expect the following services as a patient:

  • Regular visits with your doctor to adjust the amount of medication you take and receive your prescription
  • One-on-one therapy sessions with an opioid use disorder counselor
  • Additional appointments for group therapy, family therapy or patient education
  • Social service coordination to help you get necessities like food and shelter if needed

You will receive personalized care from a team of professionals ready to support you as you work toward your recovery goals.

Receive MAT at BAART Programs

Select BAART Programs locations across the United States provide MAT with buprenorphine and naloxone. Our compassionate staff can give you the services you need to reclaim your life from opioids. You can contact our team online at any time to schedule your first appointment.

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