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Buprenorphine Use in Addiction Treatment

Buprenorphine is a medication widely used in treating people with opioid addiction.1 This page will explain what buprenorphine is, how it works to manage withdrawal and treat opioid addiction, and how to find buprenorphine treatment centers.

What Is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is an FDA-approved medication used in the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).1 Though buprenorphine is itself an opioid analgesic medication, specially waivered physicians are authorized to use it as part of an opioid addiction treatment regimen.1 Drugs like buprenorphine can be helpful in the treatment of opioid addiction, as you will learn more about in the following sections.

One of the more widely used buprenorphine brand names was a drug called Subutex, which has now been discontinued.1 Buprenorphine medicines that are still in use for OUD treatment include:2

  • Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone; sublingual/buccal dissolvable film).
  • Zubsolv (buprenorphine and naloxone; sublingual tablets).
  • Sublocade (extended release subcutaneous injection).

What Is Buprenorphine Used For?

Buprenorphine is used to help stabilize people in opioid withdrawal during detox and maintain them in treatment from OUD as part of longer-term comprehensive addiction treatment.3

How Does Buprenorphine Work?

Buprenorphine acts as a partial opioid receptor agonist.2 This means buprenorphine binds to the opioid receptors in the brain similarly to full agonists like morphine—yet with relatively weaker pharmacological effects.1

Buprenorphine can be safely used as an OUD treatment medication when taken as recommended.

As a partial agonist, buprenorphine has less pronounced euphoric potential and causes less respiratory depression than many other types of misused opioids.1 Its pharmacological properties make buprenorphine well suited to use as a treatment drug by:

  • Lessening the effects of opioid dependence, such as cravings.
  • Being relatively safe in terms of overdose risks.
  • Being less likely to be misused.

Addiction Treatment Settings That Use Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine may be used in addition to a combination of behavioral therapeutic approaches to treat OUD in both an inpatient/residential and outpatient setting.4

Buprenorphine Use in Detox Programs

Detox is an important stage of treatment for opioid use disorder. Medically supervised detox can provide a safe and comfortable withdrawal period and can include medication, like buprenorphine, to help reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Multiple levels of care offer detox. Inpatient detox provides around-the-clock medical supervision, while outpatient detox is less intense.5 Patients participating in outpatient detox will travel to the treatment center to receive detox assistance, such as medication, and may return to their homes.5

Buprenorphine Used in Inpatient Addiction Programs

Inpatient buprenorphine treatment may be the best option for those who have a more severe addiction to opioids or may not have the support at home that promotes recovery.5 page 25-26 There are different options for inpatient treatment, including 3-week to 6-month residential treatment plans.5 Treatment specialists can help you find the best program for your needs. Your plan will depend on specific factors, including your medical history, addiction history, and other personal details about your situation.5

Buprenorphine Use in Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Outpatient addiction treatment that uses buprenorphine can be beneficial for some patients. Outpatient care is a way for you to attend treatment while still maintaining your regular responsibilities, like your job, school, and home life. Outpatient care may include therapy, support groups, appointments with a physician, and more.5 Each person will have a plan specific to their needs. Not everyone will have the same levels of care or treatment plans.

Does Insurance Cover Rehabs That Use Buprenorphine?

If you are considering using insurance for addiction rehab, know that insurance companies are required to cover at least some of the cost of addiction treatment.6 Our navigators can assist you find out what your insurance policy will cover.

If you are paying for rehab without insurance, don’t let the idea of that financial burden keep you from seeking treatment. There are state-funded programs, scholarships, fundraising, and financing options available. Our navigators can help you find what option is best for you, depending on the treatment you need.

Finding Opioid Addiction Rehabs That Use Buprenorphine

If you don’t know where to start your recovery journey, finding opioid addiction treatment is easier than you think. Our directory tools allow you to search for a facility by state as well as by feature. If you are looking for a rehab in California with detox and inpatient care, simply choose those filters and search. Numerous options will show up for you to explore and learn about before deciding.

Choosing to enter opioid treatment is a life-changing decision, and our admissions navigators are here to help. They will help you find a facility that offers what you need, verify insurance for opioid rehab, and help you make plans to begin treatment.

If you are struggling with the best way to approach rehab, contact one of our admission navigators at and they will help you find the type of program that will best meet your needs. You can also look at some of the facilities listed below to see if they provide the program you are looking for:

American Addiction Centers maintains a strong partnership with a large group of insurance companies at our addiction treatment facilities. You can speak to an admissions navigator about different payment options, including insurance, for treatment. Start the journey to recovery and find out instantly using the form below if your health insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab and associated therapies.

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