Brixadi® vs. Suboxone®: A Comprehensive Guide

This guide dives into the distinctions between Brixadi® and Suboxone®, detailing their mechanisms of action, potential side effects, and costs, to offer a thorough understanding of their roles in combating OUD.

In recent years, the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) has evolved significantly, with medication-assisted treatment options like Sublocade® and Suboxone® leading the charge. Recently, a new injectable form of buprenorphine, Brixadi®, became available for providers to administer. This guide dives into the distinctions between Brixadi® and Suboxone®, detailing their mechanisms of action, potential side effects, and costs, to offer a thorough understanding of their roles in combating OUD.

Brixadi® vs Suboxone®: The Core Differences

Brixadi® and Suboxone®, both pivotal in managing OUD, differ in their administration and composition. Brixadi®, an injectable solution, delivers buprenorphine directly into the system, whereas Suboxone® combines buprenorphine and naloxone in an oral form, offering a different approach to treatment.

Understanding the Mechanism of Action

In the battle against OUD, understanding the role of dopamine—a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure and happiness—is key. Opioids elevate dopamine levels, leading to euphoria, but Brixadi® and Suboxone® counteract this by limiting the reactivity of opioid receptors in the brain.

Delving Deeper into Brixadi®

Both medications contain buprenorphine as the primary ingredient. Brixadi® is an extended-release form of buprenorphine. Buprenorphine acts as a partial agonist-antagonist at opioid receptors (also called Mu receptors). It partially activates the Mu receptors in the brain, therefore largely preventing OUD cravings. If opioids were taken while buprenorphine is in a person’s system, the antagonist feature prevents feelings of euphoria. 

Unpacking Suboxone®

Suboxone®, taken orally, combines buprenorphine with naloxone. In addition to the benefits of buprenorphine, Suboxone® contains naloxone, commonly known as the opioid overdose reversal spray, Narcan. Naloxone is inactive when taken sublingually. When ingested intranasally or intravenously, naloxone replaces the opioids on the Mu receptors, sending the person into withdrawal. Because of this mechanism, naloxone helps prevent the abuse and misuse of Suboxone®. 

Precautions While Using Brixadi® and Suboxone®

Before embarking on treatment with Brixadi® or Suboxone®, it's crucial for patients to be aware of the risks associated with these medications, alongside the benefits they offer.

  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Abrupt discontinuation or sudden decrease in the dose can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
  • Drug Interactions: Taking buprenorphine with other drugs can increase the risk of side effects.
  • Allergy: Patients with a history of a buprenorphine or naloxone allergy should notify their doctors.
  • Injuries: If overly prescribed, buprenorphine can cause dizziness and sleepiness.
  • Intravenous Administration: Intravenous administration of Brixadi® can lead to a life-threatening thrombo-embolic event. Brixadi® must be administered by a licensed healthcare provider to ensure intramuscular administration in the appropriate part of the body. 

Side Effects of Brixadi® and Suboxone®

The side effects associated with these medications primarily stem from buprenorphine. However, the naloxone in Suboxone® can induce severe opioid withdrawal symptoms if the medication is misused.

Start Your Recovery Journey Today: Learn More About Brixadi® and Suboxone®

Brixadi® and Suboxone® are cornerstone treatments in the medication-assisted management of Opioid Use Disorder. Distinguishing between these two can empower patients and caregivers with the knowledge to make well-informed decisions regarding treatment options. Consulting a healthcare provider is essential for tailored advice on managing OUD.

Secure your path to recovery from Opioid Use Disorder by scheduling an appointment with our addiction specialists for medically-assisted treatment today.

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