Subuxone, subbies, Temgesic, temmies

Buprenorphine is an opioid analgesic or pain killer used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. It is also licensed for use as a substitute for heroin or morphine and is prescribed to people wanting to come off these drugs. It is different from other opioids in that it is a partial opioid agonist. This means that there is less euphoria and physical dependence and a relatively mild withdrawal syndrome.

The aim of buprenorphine treatment is to:

  • Suppress symptoms of opioid withdrawal
  • Decrease cravings for opioids and hence illicit opioid use
  • Block some of the effects of other opioids
  • Change risky behaviour such as injecting and sharing needles
  • Stop the need to commit crimes to fund the heroin habit
  • Help patients stay in treatment

Trade names for buprenorphine include, Subutex, Suboxone and Temgesic. Subutex comes in tablet form and these are usually taken orally -dissolved under the tongue.

See also the DrugSearch page on methadone which is another substitute drug that may be prescribed to help people come off heroin.


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