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Does Suboxone (buprenorphine) treat pain?

Buprenorphine for pain

Yes. Buprenorphine has been used to treat pain.

In fact, buprenorphine is a potent opioid analgesic, and has been used intravenously to treat pain for over 30 years. However, in high, steady doses, people become tolerant to the effects of buprenorphine at the mu opioid receptor. Tolerance removes most of the analgesic actions of buprenorphine, limiting the pain-treating actions of the drug. But at the same time, tolerance removes most of the analgesic effects of ALL opioids, including oxycodone and other common pain medications. Because of tolerance, all opioid analgesics lose potency over time, including buprenorphine.

The effect of tolerance on analgesia

But chronic pain has a number of factors that alter how the pain is experienced, including placebo effects, the effect of mood on pain sensation, and the actions of natural pain-fighting nerve pathways. Many people with chronic pain continue to report benefit from pain medication, well beyond the length of time for tolerance to occur. Likewise, many patients report pain relief from long-term buprenorphine – even though tolerance would be expected to reduce analgesia from the medication.

More on Suboxone

Do you still have questions about Suboxone?  Please leave your questions in the comments section here.  Whether you’re interested in Suboxone addiction signs or the narcotic classification of Suboxone, we’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly.

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11 Responses to “Does Suboxone (buprenorphine) treat pain?
Donna
5:28 am January 5th, 2015

I have taken subutox a couple of times. the first time took 5 mgs and felt like I had taken 10 mgs of oxycodone..next time I took 7.5 mgs and could’nt feel anything. I took it for pain. why is this? I don’t take it regulately.

2:34 pm January 15th, 2015

Hi Donna. Did you take any other medications the first time you used it?! It’s rather unusual, but it can be just your organism reacting to a substance…

Cheryl
6:06 pm April 19th, 2015

I have been on suboxin for five months I have lost thirty pounds I needed to lose it but is this normal will it keep going down

3:04 pm April 21st, 2015

Hi Cheryl. Weight loss can be caused by suboxone. I suggest you report this side effect to your doctor and get help in finding a way you can no longer loose weight and still get treatment.

R.C.
10:59 am May 8th, 2015

I have been taking 1 sub every 6 hours for about 5 years. Recently, due to chronic pain, my pain mgt Doc lowered my sub intake to just 2 a day(1/per 12 hrs) but also added oxycodone 30 mg (immediate release) for me to take every 6 hrs, and also Nucynta 100 mg immediate release every six hours. Please help me understand this!

3:41 pm May 27th, 2015

Hi R.C. Is he doing this with the intention on lowering your tolerance to suboxone before he switches you to another medication for pain management? 5 years on suboxone is a long-term use and getting off buprenorphine can be hard. He may just be looking ahead what’s best for you. You can feel free to ask your doctor questions.

Johnny
6:23 pm August 5th, 2015

how long dose buprenorphine effective for treating cronic pain

4:01 pm August 6th, 2015

Hi Johnny. Depends on how you take the buprenorphine (sublingual or transdermal). The transdermal works by delivering 5, 10, and 20 mcg/hour doses over 7 days. Taken sublingually, buprenorphine’s pain-relieving properties last on average 6 to 8 hours.

gineen
3:35 am December 15th, 2015

If I am taking 2mpg or less a day for a month. Could I just stop cold turkey and not get withdrawal symptoms like feel sick.. I need to know if I have to wean down to 0 could someone give me suggesstion please

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
10:27 am December 15th, 2015

Hi, Gineen. Experts don’t recommend to quit cold turkey. The best way is to wean off the drug slowly. So, I suggest you consult your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule just for you. Good luck!

Ron
12:57 am July 13th, 2016

I was taking oxcodone for about 3 years. I stopped that and started taking suboxone. I took suboxone three months. I couldn’t afford to keep going so I tried to stop on my own. It’s been 12 days since I stopped taking suboxone. I have diarrhea lasting ten days but only comes about once or twice a day. Feel really depressed and have anxiety. Is this normal or should I be coming off of it by now. Go back to suboxone Dr??? Sorry so Long and thanks

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About Dr. Jeffrey Junig, MD, PhD

Dr. Jeffrey Junig, MD, PhD is a psychiatrist practicing in northeast Wisconsin, in recovery from opioid dependence. He is Board Certified in both Psychiatry and Anesthesiology and holds a PhD in Neuroscience. He writes about buprenorphine at Suboxone Talk Zone, and manages a forum for patients taking buprenorphine called SuboxForum.

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