Buprenorfin - partial agonist | how to use

This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on Thu, 27 Dec 2018. To read more about an author, click here.

Buprenorfin (also known as Buprenorphine) is a drug that belongs to group of opioid partial agonist (narcotic) drugs. This drug is not used to treat severe pain but only as a replacement therapy in patients who developed opioid dependence. It is used in patients above the age of 16 and who voluntarily accept to be treated for addiction.


  • It should be avoided in patients with lung disease and breathing problems. Buprenorfin may further worsen the condition in such patients. If you are experiencing shortness of breath, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Buprenorfin should be avoided in patients allergic to this drug, as well as in patients under the age of 16.
  • It also should be avoided in patients dependent on alcohol, as well as in patients with severe liver damage.
  • Patients who are treated with Buprenorfin must constantly be under medical supervision, because of possible abuse and the risk of overdose.
  • The therapy with this drug should not be discontinued abruptly because it can cause dependence and abrupt discontinuation of therapy can cause withdrawal symptoms.
  • When you are starting treatment with buprenorphine opioid, bear in mind that some time needs to pass after the last use of narcotics.
  • It should be avoided during pregnancy because symptoms of withdrawal may occur in newborns.
  • Buprenorfin should be used only with extra precautions in patients with the thyroid gland disorders or the adrenal gland disorders.
  • Use this drug with extra precautions in patients who have or have had a head injury or brain tumor.
  • It should not be used concomitant with alcoholic beverages, because alcohol can exacerbate the effect of Buprenorfin!

Use of Buprenorfin during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Buprenorfin should not be used during pregnancy because it can cause withdrawal symptoms among newborns which results in respiratory arrest (cessation of breathing) which presents very soon after birth.

Buprenorfin passes into breast milk and may harm your baby. Avoid breastfeeding while using this drug.

How to use Buprenorfin

It is very important to check liver function prior the Buprenorfin therapy. If your liver is damaged, than you should avoid this medication.

Also, it is necessary to determine the degree of dependency, and the time of the last narcotic use. If enough time has passed since last narcotic use, you can start treatment with this drug.

Buprenorfin is found in the form of a sublingual tablet (which easily melt under the tongue), and at a dose of 0,4 mg, 2 mg and 8 mg. Treatment should be started with the lowest dose of 0.4 mg per day. The dosage may be gradually increased until it desired effect is achieved.

Buprenorfin tablets are intended for use under the tongue. Do not swallow them.

Use with other medicines (Interactions)

Buprenorfin should be avoided in combination with the following drugs:

  • Tranquilizers (sedatives) used in the treatment of insomnia (called benzodiazepines), such as:
    • diazepam (Bensedin),
    • bromazepam (Lexilium, Lexaurin),
    • lorazepam,
    • alprazolam,
    • midazolam,
    • prazepam and others. Concomitant use of these medications with Buprenorfin increases the risk of respiratory arrest. This combination of drugs is dangerous!
  • Other drugs that act on the central nervous system, such as:
    • antidepressants,
    • antipsychotics,
    • anesthetics,
    • H1 antihistamines (used in the treatment of allergy) and others.

Tell your doctor about all medications and herbal products you are taking.

Buprenorfin side effects

Buprenorfin may cause the following side effects:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • constipation,
  • headaches,
  • dizziness,
  • hallucinations,
  • sudden drop in blood pressure when you stand up from a sitting position (orthostatic hypotension),
  • drowsiness,
  • insomnia,
  • difficulty breathing,
  • liver damage followed by jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes),
  • increased sweating,
  • loss of appetite,
  • pain,
  • allergy and others.

Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any side effects.

Information on this website are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.