FDA Approves New Non-Opioid Drug for Use in Reducing Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

Buprenorphine is an opioid drug sometimes prescribed for pain. It is also prescribed for those going through opioid withdrawal.

Buprenorphine is a partial agonist. More serious opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl, are full agonists. This means that buprenorphine has many of the same effects as other opioids, but to a lesser degree. Because of this, there is a lower (but still present) chance of addiction or physical dependence. Additionally, withdrawal from buprenorphine tends to be much less intense than withdrawal from full agonist opioids.

Buprenorphine can be obtained with a prescription, and is often used in rehab or other treatment centers so that users can be monitored by trained healthcare professionals.

Sometimes, buprenorphine causes serious or uncomfortable side effects like constipation, headache, stomach pain, vomiting, sweating, difficulty falling or staying asleep, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, numbness or tingling, depression, blurred vision or double vision, hives, rash, or difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Like any opioid, buprenorphine can slow your breathing. It’s important not to mix buprenorphine with other drugs, including alcohol, other opioids, and sleeping pills, to avoid stopping the flow of oxygen to your brain.

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