My son has been prescribed the Butrans patch for his recreational addiction to Norco. Have you heard of this treatment, and is it effective for this type of addiction? I am worried that this patch will be just as addictive as what he has been taking. He does not have any chronic pain, but this has been prescribed by a pain management doctor.
You are right to be worried. Butrans is a buprenorphine transdermal delivery system and yes, buprenorphine is just another opiate. Here is more information: Buprenorphine is a thebaine derivative with powerful analgesia approximately 20-40x more potent than morphine. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist and antagonist of the opioid receptors in the central nervous system which means that when its molecule binds to a receptor, it will transduce only a partial response in contrast to a full agonist such as morphine. Buprenorphine has such a high affinity to the opioid receptors that the opioid receptor antagonists (e.g. naloxone) only partially reverse its effects. This means that an overdose of buprenorphine cannot be easily reversed. The only good thing about this drug is that it has a ceiling effect and tends to cause less respiratory depression.
Buprenorphine abuse is very common in Scandinavia, especially in Finland and Sweden. In 2007, the authorities in Uppsala county in Sweden confiscated more buprenorphine than cocaine, ecstasy and GHB. In Finland recreational use of buprenorphine is on the rise; in 2005, Finland’s incidence of Subutex abuse (most often IV) surpassed the incidence of recreational usage of amphetamines. Intravenous administration of dissolved Subutex pills and insufflation of pulverized pills are the most common modes of recreational buprenorphine use.
Having said all that, there is precious little we can do as mothers to influence the decisions our grown children make.
You can certainly give him the information, point him to my blogs, share with him that about half of all the patients we detox in our clinic are on either Suboxone or Subutex (either buprenorphine alone or its combination with an opiate antagonis naloxone). The reason for it is, because addicts, desperate to get clean are lead to believe that this is a treatment for addiction, when it is in truth just a substitute.
Look at my clinivc website www.mdsdrugdetox.com and read patient blogs and testimonials and they will open your eyes.
Good luck to both of you.
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