Subutex (buprenorphine) and Suboxone (buprenorphine + naloxone) are pills for sublingual administration (i.e., you don't swallow them, but let them dissolve under your tongue - bupe doesn't work orally because it gets broken down into much weaker metabolites in the GI tract), but both are intended for maintenance treatment of opioid addicts and have super-high doses of buprenorphine. I take Buprenex and would like to be able to switch to a sublingual pill (especially since Buprenex is one of the many injectable drugs currently suffering shortages in the US), but even if I cut the lowest-dose Subutex pill (2 mg) in half, it would likely make me sick.
In some countries.(but not the US) you can get a sublingual formulation known by the brand name Temgesic, in a dose range similar to Buprenex, more suitable for non-addicts. In the US, with a doctor's order, a compounding pharmacist could make something similar to Temgesic. (I'm not sure how prescriptions are written for compounded drugs, but I know it can be done.) I should note, however, that a compounded medication might not be covered by your health plan, and it might well be even more expensive than brand-name Buprenex.
I hope this answers your question.
- Buprenex Information for Consumers
- Buprenex Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Buprenex (detailed)
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