What is Buprenorphine Induction?

Buprenorphine Induction,

Suboxone Induction, and Subutex Induction:

Buprenorphine induction, also known as Suboxone induction or Subutex Induction, is a process. It is the process of transitioning a client from a short acting or moderate acting opiate, such as Heroin or Oxycontin, to the opiate Buprenorphine.

A transition or switch to Buprenorphine from another opiate is done for opiate maintenance or for detoxification. Opiate maintenance means the client will remain on the Buprenorphine for an extended period of time. Buprenorphine maintenance is often used to stabilize a person who has been using an opiate for a lengthy time. Detoxification using Buprenorphine can be done over a period of days depending on how much the client is using and how long the client has used opiates.

EHD can assist with a Buprenorphine Induction, usually over a four day period.  

The Process of Buprenorphine Induction:

The process of Buprenorphine induction is tricky. The following is a general process.

  • A qualified physician orders the Buprenorphine.
  • The client stops taking their current opiate.
  • The client must go into opiate withdrawal before Buprenorphine is initiated.
  • A qualified health care provider, such as a physician or nurse, determines if the client’s withdrawal is adequate to initiate the Buprenorphine.
    • The use of a withdrawal scale, the Comprehensive Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS), is used to numerically measure the withdrawal.
  • Once the client is adequately in opiate withdrawal, a small dose of Buprenorphine is given to determine if the client will tolerate the Buprenorphine or if he or she will go into a severe full withdrawal.
  • Once the Buprenorphine is initiated The client will experience relief from the opiate withdrawal within thirty minutes or the client will go into a severe full withdrawal. That is the reason for medical oversight during this process.
  • If the client experiences relief from the withdrawal a stabilizing dosage is determined over the next few days.

Important Facts about Buprenorphine:

  • Buprenorphine is an opiate. Ongoing use will result in opiate dependence just like any other opiate.
  • Buprenorphine is considered a safer alternative to other opiates because, by itself, it does not cause respiratory depression. It is also considered a safer alternative because it has less abuse potential than other opiates.
  • Clients generally report they feel more functional on Buprenorphine than they do on other opiates.
  • Buprenorphine is a very long acting opiate. This allows for once a day or twice a day dosing.
  • Buprenorphine can be a life saver for many.
  • Buprenorphine, when used as a maintenance medication, can be very difficult to wean or detox from.