Buprenorphine, Subxone, Subutex in Bangkok, Thailand

 

Buprenorphine is a medication used treat addiction to opiates. It may be used as long-term opiate replacement therapy or as short-term treatment for opiate withdrawal during detox. More and more addiction counselors are advocating it for treatment for withdrawal in the short-term, such as 2 – 4 days. Buprenorphine is prescribed by a medical doctor at the dose of 8mg per day for 2 – 4 days for withdrawals. Buprenorphine is not widely available in Bangkok, Thailand, but it is possible for some doctors to order this medication.

Although Buprenorphine also known as Suboxone and Subutex is sometimes used for long-treatment of addiction to opiates, such as heroin, many substance abuse counselors and addiction specialists at Inspire Rehab Center in Bangkok, Thailand may discourage this, as it is possible to become dependent on it.  Although Buprenorphine does not cause euphoria and is not highly sedating, allowing people to function on this medication, long-term use will cause dependence. When the medication is stopped, it will lead to withdrawals. However, the withdrawal will not be as severe as from other opiates.

Buprenorphine is a unique medication as it is a partial agonist of the opiate receptors. This acts on the opiate receptors enough to prevent those addicted to opiates from going into withdrawals, but is not enough to cause euphoria or sedation. Furthermore, the medication blocks other opiates, so if other opiates are used on top of Buprenorphine, it does not cause any effects. Therefore, buprenorphine is quite safe, as overdosing is very unlikely. Although medical professionals in Bangkok, Thailand may prescribe it on an outpatient basis since it is safe, addiction professionals at Inspire Rehab Center would recommend using it to detox while being supervised at a rehab center. This would provide an extra level of safety and ensure adherence to the treatment process.

In the United States, Buprenorphine is considered a Schedule II drug, as is other opiate medications such as methadone, morphine, and oxycodone, although it is considered safer than these drugs. It is the first medication that may be prescribe for opiate addiction at a doctor’s office. Medications, such as methadone, must be taken at a methadone center, which is often very inconvenient for the methadone users.

In addition to short-term detox and long-term ongoing use, recent research has found that Buprenorphine is effective when used in the mid-term. That is, when used daily for 12 weeks. When used for 12 weeks, Buprenorphine is used at 8mg and then tapered off to 0mg starting at 9 weeks. When tapered off of slowly over the course of 3 weeks, withdrawal symptoms are very minimal and was well tolerated by those in the study. At Inspire Rehab Center in Bangkok, Thailand we believe that the short-term use of Buprenorphine for withdrawals from opiates is good option that allows to addicted to opiates to stop using while not experiencing painful withdrawals.

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