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Buprenorphine Treatment Components

Regular Medical Care

Most patients will be required to see the physician for ongoing Buprenorphine treatment every two to four weeks, once they are stable. If they miss an appointment, they may not be able to refill the medication on time and may even go into withdrawal, which could be dangerous. The patient will be asked to bring the medication container to each visit, and may be asked to give urine, blood or breath samples at the time of the visit.

Special Medical Care

Some patients may also need care for other needle-related problems, such as hepatitis, or HIV disease. They may need to go for blood work, or see several physicians for these illnesses to get drug detox or be sent to a drug rehabilitation center.


Buprenorphine Counseling

Most patients who are recovering from addition need counseling at some point in their care. The patient may have regular appointments with an individual counselor, or for group therapy. These appointments are key parts of treatment, and work together with the Buprenorphine treatment to improve success in treatment for addition. Sometimes family members may be asked to join in family therapy sessions, which also are geared to improve addition care.

Meetings

Most patients use some kind of recovery group to maintain their sobriety. It sometimes takes several visits to different groups to find the right ‘home’ meeting. IN the first year of recovery some patients go to meetings every day, or several times per week. These meetings work to improve success in treatment, in addition to taking Buprenorphine. Family members may have their own meetings, such as Al-Anon, or ACA, to support them in adjusting to life with a patient who has a drug addiction.

Taking Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is unusual because I must be dissolved under the tongue, rather than swallowed. Please be aware that this takes a few minutes . While the medication is dissolving, the patient will not be able o answer the phone, or the doorbell, or speak very easily. This means that the family will get used to the patient being ‘out of commission’ for a few minutes whenever the regular dose is scheduled.

Storing Buprenorphine

If Buprenorphine is lost or misplaced, the patient may skip doses or go into withdrawal, so it is very important to find a good place to keep the medication safely at home – away from children or pets, and always in the same location, so it can be easily found. The doctor may give the patient a few ‘backup’ pills, in a separate bottle, in case an appointment has to be rescheduled, or there is an emergency or of some kind. It is best if the location of the Buprenorphine is NOT next to the vitamins, or the aspirin, or other over-the-counter medications, to avoid confusion. If a family member or visitor takes Buprenorphine by mistake, a physician should check him or her immediately.

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