What is Buprenorphine / Suboxone?

Buprenorphine / Suboxone

Advanced Pharmacology to Alleviate Pain

Buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone, in addition to being commonly prescribed for addiction, is an effective painkiller with a greater margin of safety against both overdose and addiction than other prescription pain medications, such as Vicodin and OxyContin. Developed in England in the early 1970s, buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opiate that, unlike heroin and other opiate derivatives, does not make its users euphoric and is unlikely to cause a lethal overdose by depressing respiration. Buprenorphine/Suboxone is especially helpful for patients with chronic pain who do not respond well to other opioids, or who are at risk of opiate dependency.

Dr. Howard Kornfeld of Recovery Without Walls has pioneered the use of buprenorphine/Suboxone in the United States for the treatment of chronic pain. He first became aware of the drug in the 1990s and realized its potential to help his patients. Under his guidance, the Alameda County Medical Center’s Pain Management and Functional Restoration Clinic utilized buprenorphine as a core pharmaceutical option.

How Does Buprenorphine/Suboxone Work?

Buprenorphine/Suboxone is a partial agonist on the opioid receptor in the brain, which means that unlike full agonist drugs like Heroin, OxyContin, and Vicodin, there are fewer side effects associated with Buprenorphine/Suboxone. If we imagine a brain receptor as a chair, Buprenorphine/Suboxone only half sits in it, while other full agonists occupy it completely. Although Buprenorphine/Suboxone is only a partial agonist, it provides a higher efficacy for chronic pain than full agonist drugs. Dr. Kornfeld has composed the following literature to help elucidate how buprenorphine works: Buprenorphine: Frequently Asked Questions and The Emerging Role of Buprenorphine.

At Recovery Without Walls, Dr.Kornfeld prescribes Buprenorphine and Suboxone, for many of his patients who suffer from chronic pain. He has found that Buprenorphine has fewer side effects than other opioids, enabling his patients to lead more productive, healthier lives. He is one of few doctors in the United States who prescribe Buprenorphine and Suboxone as a frontline medicine for intractable pain.