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Mechanism of Action of Suboxone

Available by prescription only, Suboxone® (buprenorphine and naloxone) is used to treat opioid dependence. This medication is a type of opioid that contains buprenorphine and naloxone.
 
The mechanism of action by which Suboxone works is by binding to certain receptors, called opioid mu receptors, which are found throughout the body. While the main effects of buprenorphine occur in the central nervous system, buprenorphine can produce effects anywhere opioid mu receptors are found. Because buprenorphine is a partial (not full) agonist of mu receptors, it only partially activates these receptors. This usually means there is less chance of abuse.
 
This naloxone component is mainly added to help prevent abuse of the medication via injection. When taken as directed (dissolved under the tongue), naloxone usually has no noticeable effects. However, when injected, naloxone counteracts the effects of buprenorphine. This can lead to rapid and severe withdrawal symptoms.
 
(To learn more about the mechanism of action for this drug, click Suboxone. This article offers a complete overview of this drug, including how it works, general safety precautions to be aware of, and tips for taking it correctly.)
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