Buprenorphine produces an effect that enables people with opioid dependence to stop taking opioids without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Although buprenorphine is considered an opioid, it has a ceiling effect,
meaning that above a certain dose, more medication does not give more of an effect. This helps to protect people from overdose. 

Buprenorphine/naloxone medications have the same effect as buprenorphine alone when taken as directed, but are considered to be safer because of the naloxone component. Naloxone blocks the "high" effect if the medication is injected. This helps to deter intravenous misuse. Buprenorphine/naloxone is a sublingual medication, meaning that it dissolves under the tongue.

Ceiling effect:
When the increasing effects of an opioid reach maximum levels and do not increase further, even if doses continue
to rise. This helps to protect people from overdose.

Of a long duration and ongoing recurrence. A chronic illness persists for weeks, months, or even for life.

Cold turkey:
A term commonly used to describe the method of abruptly stopping the use of a substance, such as opioids,
in an effort to quit long term.

An intense, overpowering desire to experience the euphoric effects of a substance, as well as the desire to avoid
the symptoms of withdrawal and/or abstinence. Cravings are the result of a physical change in the brain caused by frequent opioid use.

Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000):
A law that permits qualified doctors to treat opioid dependence with controlled medications that have been
approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Doctors must obtain a waiver from the separate registration requirements of the Narcotic Addict Treatment Act in order to prescribe and dispense these medications. Doctors are limited to helping 30 patients at any one time for the first year of certification and up to 100 thereafter, per year.

To learn more about DATA 2000 and the qualifying requirements, please visit buprenorphine.samhsa.gov.

Detoxification is generally a medically supervised treatment for alcohol or drug dependence designed to eliminate those substances from the body. Such a program can be used as a first step in overcoming dependence.

Euphoria ("High"):
A mental and emotional condition in which a person experiences extreme feelings of well-being, elation, joy, and happiness.

A step of maintenance treatment, usually lasting 1 to 2 days. During induction, medication is given under supervision of a doctor. Doctors use this period to ensure the medication is being well tolerated and to determine the appropriate dose.

Being or occurring within a vein. Some people may dissolve and inject opioids.

Maintenance medications can help reduce cravings, without making the person feel "high." This helps give people a chance to change their habits and to stop taking opioids. Maintenance medication for opioid dependence usually involves several steps. One step is called induction (see "Induction"). The maintenance step is one in which people take a dose of medication each day. Depending on the person and his or her goals for treatment, this step can last for weeks, months, or even years before a "taper off" step is considered.

Methadone, which has been used to treat opioid dependence in the United States since the early 1970s, reduces the cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid dependence. People taking methadone need to visit a clinic each day to receive their medication under supervision.

See "Buprenorphine/naloxone."

A drug naturally derived from the opium poppy plant or synthetically produced in a laboratory. Opioids can be used legally to therapeutically treat pain (eg, morphine and oxycodone), or illegally (heroin). Opioids can produce a sensation of euphoria–or feeling "high," sedation, and depression. The chronic misuse of opioids can lead to opioid dependence.

Opioid dependence:
Also known as "opioid use disorder." A chronic disorder that involves a physical, psychological, and behavioral desire to use an opioid. This need is unrelated to medical necessity for pain relief. Opioid dependence occurs when the frequent use of opioids physically changes the brain. After a while, the brain starts to think that it needs opioids
to function normally.

Opioid misuse:
The use of an opioid in a manner other than how it is prescribed.

Accidental or intentional use of opioids in an amount that is higher than normally used.

Of or pertaining to the interaction between social and psychological factors.

A known and anticipated episode of symptom breakthrough affecting people with chronic disorders like opioid dependence. Relapse happens when someone with opioid dependence who had stopped taking opioids begins taking opioids again.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—a division of the US Department of Health. It has a special section of its website for buprenorphine (see "Buprenorphine") at SAMHSA.gov.

Under the tongue. Some medications are meant to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the membranes beneath the tongue.

A person, place, feeling, or event that can result in cravings and may eventually lead to relapse.

The period of time after sudden discontinuation of, decrease in, or administration of a medication that blocks the effect of opioids after heavy and prolonged use. During this period, predictable symptoms occur that are caused by the sudden overstimulation of the physiological functions that were once suppressed by the drug and/or depression of the functions that were stimulated by the drug.

Withdrawal symptoms:
Symptoms typically begin 4 to 72 hours after the last opioid use (depending on the extent of use). Symptoms are both physical and emotional and include, but are not limited to, fatigue, hot/cold sweats, stomach cramps, dilated pupils, goose bumps, watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, loss of appetite, tremors, panic, nausea, dry heaves, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, shaking, irritability, jitters, feelings of hopelessness, and increased sensitivity to pain.


There are doctors in your area that can help. Use this tool to find one today.


Know someone who could benefit from RISE? Tell them about it now.

This site is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified healthcare provider.
RISE is a licensed trademark of Orexo US, Inc.
This site is sponsored by Orexo US, Inc. and is intended for residents of the United States. ©2014 Orexo US, Inc. ZUB175