Article at a Glance:
- Subutex is a brand name for generic buprenorphine.
- Buprenorphine is the only active ingredient in Subutex pills, which are designed to melt under the tongue and help people avoid withdrawal symptoms when someone tries to stop using opioids.
- There are varying dosages of the medication, the highest of which is Subutex 8 mg, and only a physician or trained professional should determine the proper dosage because there are risks and side effects associated with the use of Subutex.
- Subutex pills are oval in shape, they are white, and they are printed with the letter B, alongside a number that represents the dose.
Table of Contents
What is Subutex?
Subutex is a brand name of the generic buprenorphine, which is used to treat opioid dependence. Opioids are prescription drugs that include things like oxycodone, as well as the illicit street drug heroin.
The U.S. is currently in the midst of a severe opioid epidemic, and drugs like Subutex are being relied upon to help users move away from their addiction to opioids. In some cases, Subutex or buprenorphine may be used for other reasons, such as a pain reliever, but this is less common.
What Does a Subutex Pill Look Like?
Subutex pills are oval-shaped and white. They are printed with the letter B and then a number that indicates the strength. For example, Subutex 2 mg would have B2 printed on one side.
Image for a White, Oval Pill with B2 Imprint
Subutex 2 mg
Generic Name: buprenorphine
The initial recommended Subutex dose or dosage ranges from 0.8 mg to 4 mg, taken once a day. Then, the Subutex dosage can increase based on the effects of the drug, but this should be done under close clinical supervision. It’s not recommended that anyone exceed a daily Subutex dose of more than 32 mg.
Then, the Subutex dosage can gradually be reduced over time and eventually stopped altogether. It’s important that as a person’s Subutex dosage is being decreased that they’re monitored to help prevent the potential for relapse.
How Do You Take Subutex
For maximum effectiveness and safety, there are certain instructions people should follow. They should take the Subutex dosage at the same time every day without missing a dose, and the Subutex pill should be placed under the tongue where it can melt. It shouldn’t be chewed or swallowed, and you shouldn’t eat or drink while it’s melting.
If a dose is missed people should take it as soon as they remember, and if it’s close to the time for the next dose, it should be skipped. There shouldn’t be a “doubling up” of Subutex doses.
Subutex shouldn’t be combined with alcohol because it increases the sedative effects. It’s important to use caution when combining it with many other substances as well, particularly those that depress the central nervous system like benzodiazepines.
Subutex 8 mg
The dosage of Subutex 8 mg is frequently discussed, specifically. Subutex 8 mg is the highest individual dose of a single Subutex pill. It’s a sublingual tablet, and as was talked about above, is a treatment for opioid drug dependence.
The active ingredient of Subutex, which is buprenorphine, is known as an opioid partial agonist. This means that it interacts with the same receptors in the brain as opioids do, but it doesn’t cause people to feel the high that these drugs would. When you take Subutex, the theory is that you don’t experience the cravings for opioids that you would otherwise.
It’s essentially a way to trick your brain into thinking you’ve been exposed to opioids, which can help prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms occur because your body has become physically dependent on the presence of opioids to bind to these certain central nervous system receptors. When the opioids aren’t present on the receptors, it sends your body into a type of shock. This can cause a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, which make it difficult to stop using opioids.
What happens when Subutex is taken is that it binds to these certain receptors, but without allowing for the euphoric effects of other drugs. If you were to take another opioid, the buprenorphine wouldn’t let it bind to these receptors.
Since buprenorphine is a partial agonist, it means it can’t activate opioid receptors enough to create euphoria. It’s also unlikely that buprenorphine would slow respiration enough to lead to an overdose, as commonly happens with opioids.
Suboxone vs Subutex
There are two drugs that are often confused with one another, which are Subutex and Suboxone. Subutex is different from Suboxone because it contains only one active ingredient: buprenorphine. Suboxone, on the other hand, contains both buprenorphine and something else called naloxone, which is added to help prevent abuse of the medicine.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.