This medication is used to treat opioid dependency and addiction.

It is also used for moderate to severe pain management.

IUPAC name: (1S,2S,6R,14R,15R,16R)-5-(cyclopropylmethyl)-16-[(2S)-2-hydroxy-3,3-dimethylbutan-2-yl]-15-methoxy-13-oxa-5-azahexacyclo[,8.01,6.02,14.012,20]icosa-8(20),9,11-trien-11-ol

Drug class: Opioid agonist-antagonist

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Route of administration: Sublingual film/tablet, subcutaneous implant, buccal film, IV, transdermal patch

Is it a drug that needs a prescription? YES

Is it an OTC drug? NO

Mechanism of action

Buprenorphine is a partial µ opioid agonist. This drug is used alone for pain treatment or in combination with other opioid antagonists for the treatment of opioid dependence.

 This partial opioid agonist can prevent the withdrawal symptoms in patients who stop taking opioid drugs such as morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and heroin by attaching to µopioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS).

This medication also lowers pain perception by attaching to µ opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) and preventing neurons from transmitting pain signals from the body to the brain. 

Side effects

It may cause dizziness, drowsiness, headache, weakness, constipation, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, nervousness, fatigue, arrhythmia, hallucination, postural hypotension, sweating, and lightheadedness. 


If you take this medicine improperly and without a prescription, you will face the risk of becoming addicted (habit-forming), overdosing, or even dying.

If you take buprenorphine with alcohol, it increases your chances of developing blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, or it can also slow your breathing. Fatal side effects can occur.


Before using this medication, take the following precautions and notify your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to buprenorphine then it should not be used for the treatment.
  • If you are taking any other medication (prescribed, non-prescribed, or herbal products),
  • If you have a history of breathing or lung problems (including sleep apnea, severe asthma, COPD-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), brain problems (tumors, seizures), kidney issues, liver disease, gallbladder disease, depression, anxiety, intestinal blockage due to paralytic ileus, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty urinating, drug abuse,
  • Buprenorphine may increase the risk of QT prolongation if you have certain cardiac diseases (bradycardia, heart failure, or QT prolongation).
  •  If you have low blood levels of magnesium, potassium, or sodium, you may be more likely to experience QT prolongation (extended intervals between cardiac contraction and relaxation) when taking this medication.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any dental problems (such as cavities, tooth decay, or gum pain).
  • If you have undergone any type of surgery,
  • This drug’s adverse effects are more severe in older adults.
  • During pregnancy, using this medication may result in life threatening opioid withdrawal symptoms in the unborn child. Opioid overdose, however, can be lethal for both mother and child.

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