Buprenorphine is widely available in a formula that contains added naloxone, which discourages abusing or injecting it. Buprenorphine is usually taken daily in pill form or as a film that is dissolved under the tongue.

When doctors complete a required training and certification process, they can prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder in their office or at a treatment program. At the beginning of treatment, patients seen at a doctor’s office usually have frequent appointments, are referred to attend counseling, and are monitored to ensure they are making satisfactory progress. Then they may receive a prescription for up to a 30-day supply of buprenorphine to take at home.

Buprenorphine has proven to be very effective. Although it has not been more effective than methadone, it may offer advantages for some people. Office-based treatment with prescribed buprenorphine can allow patients a great deal more flexibility. Risk of overdose is lower and withdrawal from buprenorphine may be milder.

Access to buprenorphine has helped many individuals seek treatment who otherwise might not have. Some common side effects are headache, nausea, and constipation.

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