Module 2: Basic Pharmacology of Controlled Drugs and Substances

Lesson 2

Buprenorphine and buprenorphine/naloxone

Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid that is used to treat chronic pain and can also be used alone or in combination with naloxone to treat opioid addiction. Buprenorphine is a weak  μ-opioid receptor partial agonist and a kappa receptor antagonist.

Buprenorphine/naloxone (sometimes referred to by the trade name suboxone) is a combination medication used primarily to treat opioid addiction. This medication consists of the opioid agonist (buprenorphine) and an opioid antagonist (naloxone). The naloxone serves to deter inappropriate injection of the medication because, in this form, the patient will rapidly experience withdrawal symptoms.