Buprenorphine is a semi synthetic opioid analgesic derived from thebain, a component of opium. It has a longer duration of action than morphine when indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, peri-operative analgesia, and opioid dependence. Low doses buprenorphine produces sufficient agonist effect to enable opioid-addicted individuals to discontinue the misuse of opioids without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine carries a lower risk of abuse, addiction, and side effects compared to full opioid agonists because of the “ceiling effect,” which means no longer continue to increase with further increases in dose when reaching a plateau at moderate doses. However, it has also been shown that Buprenorphine has abuse potential and may itself cause dependency. Subutex®, and a Buprenorphine/Naloxone combination product, Suboxone®, are the only two forms of Buprenorphine that have been approved by FDA in 2002 for use in opioid addiction treatment. Buprenorphine was rescheduled from Schedule V to Schedule III drug just before FDA approval of Suboxone® and Subutex®.
The DrugCheck® Drug of Abuse Test yields a positive result when the concentration of Buprenorphine in urine exceeds 10 ng/mL.