A buprenorphine doctor is a physician who prescribes Suboxone® which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. According to the FDA, this medication is currently approved for the treatment of opioid dependence. Thanks to the DATA 2000 law which allowed the prescribing of this medication by any physician, since 2003 we have new medication for narcotic addiction.
Introduction of Suboxone® was a breakthrough.
Prior to 2003, the official treatment for opioid addiction was limited to methadone maintenance. Despite the enormous benefits methadone clinics have brought, they remain problematic for patients. These clinics are often located in remote, inconvenient areas of a city which makes travel difficult. Some patients would have to travel to other towns or cities to find a clinic. The larger problem has been the need to go to the clinic daily to get a methadone prescription. Patient will start lining up at five in the morning to get their dose of medication along with one hundred others. Patient’s didn’t like this, neighborhoods didn’t like it, and is was difficult on employers. This model of treatment remains despite it’s deficiencies.
There are several advantages for the use of buprenorphine. The first is that is does not require going to a doctor or clinic on a daily basis. After a few weeks of being stabilized on this medication, a patient usually is able to see their doctor once per month at a convenient time. There are now more than 14,000 doctors in the United States who prescribe this medication so patients can easily find one in their area. Appointments are in a physician’s offices and are therefore more private. For many, not having the “stigma” of going to a methadone clinic is so important that they are now willing to seek treatment.
How does buprenorphine work?
Everyone has opioid receptors in their body. These receptors are responsible for how we feel pain and pleasure. We all know have well narcotics such as Oxycontin or hydrocodone work for pain. We also know how much of a problem heroin has caused because it is so pleasurable. The two main problems with opioids have been the risk of addiction and the risk of death in overdose. There has been an explosion in the United States with the overuse of narcotic medication by almost every age group; opioid dependence is no longer just for the heroin users.
The naloxone component in Suboxone® helps prevent the misuse of this medication. If the pill is crushed and injected, it will not work. Buprenorphine itself has some special properties. It has the ability to stimulate opioid receptors enough to reduce pain, stop cravings, and produce a mild elevation in mood. At higher doses, it begins to stop working. An overdose of buprenorphine alone should not cause a person to stop breathing like other narcotics can do. Patients also report not getting “higher” on larger doses of buprenorpine. Rather, they report feeling “bad.” Because of this, there is less overuse.
A Suboxone® prescription is not completely free of problems. Since it is a narcotic, long-term use of this medication will result in physical dependence. Suddenly stopping it will result in typical opioid withdrawal symptoms. It can be fatal if used in conjunction with other drugs such as alcohol and benzodiazepines (Xanax®, Valuim®, Ativan®).
Find a Doctor that Can Provide a Suboxone® Prescription
Finding a doctor that prescribes Suboxone (buprenorphine) is not difficult. There are a number of physician locator services on the web. You should note that not all physicians are registered on theses sites. Some do this so they can limit their Suboxone treatment to selected patients. The first place to start is to ask you own physician if he or she prescribes buprenorphine.