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How should I take buprenorphine medication for opioid dependence?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Usually, a person starts by taking Subutex (which contains only buprenorphine) for two days and then switches to Suboxone, which contains buprenorphine and naloxone. The naloxone is added to discourage people from dissolving the tablet and injecting it in an attempt to get high. If a person injects Suboxone, the naloxone in the drug may cause them to develop withdrawal symptoms. But when the drug is dissolved under the tongue as directed, very little naloxone enters the bloodstream, so the patient feels only the effects of the buprenorphine.

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