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Is Buprenex the same as buprenorphine?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on July 3, 2023.

Official answer


Yes, Buprenex is the brand name for an injectable form of buprenorphine. Buprenex (generic name: buprenorphine) is a potent opioid (narcotic) medication used to manage pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternate treatments are inadequate.

Buprenex is considered a partial mu opioid agonist and was approved by the FDA in 1981. It activates the mu opioid receptor to a lesser extent than the full opioid agonists (like oxycodone, methadone or morphine). It is given as an intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injection and is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance by the DEA.

Buprenex has certain limitations of use when prescribed, as well.

  • Due to risks of addiction and misuse with opioids such as Buprenex, it is only used when you cannot tolerate other pain medication or have not had adequate relief (or you are not expected to have adequate relief).
  • Examples of these medicines include non-opioid medications (for example: NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen) or combination opioids (for example: acetaminophen and hydrocodone).

Buprenex is used after surgery and for the relief of severe pain associated with conditions such as cancer, kidney stones, and nerve disorders (neuropathic pain). You would usually receive this medication in a clinic or hospital setting and would receive monitoring by your doctor.

Although Buprenex is an FDA-approved medication, it has serious warnings and side effects and can be fatal if abused, taken in too high of a dose, or combined with other medicines that can increase sedation or respiratory depression (slowed breathing). Talk to your doctor about how to safely use any form of buprenorphine.

Buprenex is manufactured by Indivior Inc., who also make Sublocade and Suboxone.

What is buprenorphine used to treat?

Buprenorphine is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain that is not relieved by other medicines, as well as opioid use disorder. It comes in different forms for these uses, such as sublingual tablet or film, implant, injection, or as a transdermal patch.

Brand names examples of single ingredient buprenorphine products used to treat opioid dependence (opioid use disorder) include:

  • Probuphine (subdermal implant)
  • Sublocade (subcutaneous, extended-release injection)

Brand names examples of single ingredient buprenorphine products approved to treat moderate-to-severe pain include:

  • Belbuca (buccal film)
  • Buprenex (injection)
  • Butrans (transdermal film patch)

Buprenorphine is also found in combination with naloxone for treatment of opioid dependence and addiction (opioid use disorder). Naloxone is a full opiate antagonist often added to opiates to help prevent misuse of the narcotic. When crushed or dissolved and injected, naloxone can precipitate an unpleasant opioid withdrawal.

  • Bunavail (buccal film)
  • Suboxone (sublingual film)
  • Zubsolv (sublingual tablets)

Related questions

Is buprenorphine available generically?

Yes, buprenorphine is available in many different generic options, including the extended-release patches, the sublingual tablets, and the injection. Buprenorphine plus naloxone is available generically as a sublingual tablet, and buccal or sublingual film.

Bottom Line

Buprenex is the brand name for an injectable form of buprenorphine, an opiate medication used for pain. Buprenex is used to manage pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternate treatments, such as NSAIDs or combined painkillers are inadequate.

Buprenorphine is available as many different brands and as generics, and is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain and opioid use disorder.

It comes in many forms, such as a sublingual tablet, buccal or sublingual film, transdermal patch, implant or injection (intramuscular and intravenous).

This is not all the information you need to know about Buprenex for safe and effective use. Review the full Buprenex information here, and discuss this information with your doctor or other health care provider.


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