Buprenorphine has what doctors have termed as a “ceiling effect.” Meaning that after a certain dose of buprenorphine, there will be less impact on brain or respiratory functions, decreasing the risk of overdose and death.
Buprenorphine is classified as a Schedule III drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency, while oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl, methadone and hydromorphone are classified as Schedule II. Schedule III drugs are considered to be less abusable and addictive than Schedule II drugs, which are more commonly prescribed by doctors. As buprenorphine is not only safe and carries less risk for addiction and abuse compared to Schedule II products, it is also a proven and effective method of treating chronic pain.
Belbuca is an approved treatment for chronic pain and consists of buprenorphine and has been scientifically proven to treat pain effectively. Belbuca’s advanced delivery method is through a small dissolvable film that is placed on the inside of a patient’s mouth. Belbuca was developed with the intention to treat those living with chronic pain while decreasing the risk of addiction and abuse, making it a viable part of the solution to treating chronic pain while helping to curb the opioid crisis.
While we need to end the national health emergency, we must remember the millions of Americans suffering from chronic pain. In an opioid panel discussion at the Edward Kennedy Institute, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island stated that “we cannot swing the pendulum too far to one side where people are dying in excruciating pain.”
This why buprenorphine is an important pain treatment option, in terms of both curbing the opioid crisis and continuing effective treatment of those suffering from chronic pain.
Noor Gajraj is the medical director of North Texas Center for Pain Management. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.