Buprenorphine is a medication for opioid use disorder that is generally prescribed for daily use in the form of a dissolvable film or tablet, once or twice a day.
How often a person should take buprenorphine isn’t the same for everyone.
Guidelines for how often a person should take buprenorphine can be determined by a doctor, following an assessment of a person’s physical and mental health needs.
What Factors Can Affect How Often You Take Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine for opioid use disorder is typically taken once or twice a day.
Upon seeking treatment for opioid addiction, a doctor can provide directions for use based on your needs.
Factors that can affect the frequency of use include:
- where you are in the treatment process
- side effects from buprenorphine use (if any)
- severity of opioid cravings
- form of buprenorphine received (e.g. combination product, film, tablet)
Instructions for how often to take buprenorphine will be determined by a doctor based on the intended use of buprenorphine, your substance use history, and other clinical markers.
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How Often Can You Take Buprenorphine During Opioid Withdrawal?
During acute withdrawal from opioids, buprenorphine may be taken anywhere from one to four times a day, every few hours, to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms might include:
- opioid cravings
- bone or joint aches
- runny nose
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
For some people, taking one dose of buprenorphine (approximately 4 mg) eight to 24 hours after last opioid use is enough to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
If you don’t experience symptom relief within two hours of this dose, however, you may be given instruction to receive a second, smaller dose.
Symptoms can be assessed and treated every few hours accordingly.
Within a detox program, a health professional can recommend and administer buprenorphine according to your individual needs.
How Often Can You Take Buprenorphine For Long-Term Maintenance?
Following detox, buprenorphine can be taken as a maintenance treatment for opioid use disorder.
During this time, you may be prescribed buprenorphine for daily use, at one or two doses per day, based on the directions of your prescribing physician.
Further along in your treatment, dosing recommendations may be adjusted from daily use to alternate-day dosing, for some. Others might continue taking a daily dose.
What Are The Risks Of Taking Too Much Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine is a safe and effective medication for opioid addiction when taken as directed by a doctor. Taking it in any way other than prescribed can come with several risks.
Risks of taking buprenorphine more often than prescribed:
- risk of buprenorphine misuse
- negative side effects
- risk of opioid relapse
Mixing buprenorphine with other drugs, such as benzodiazepines or alcohol, can also risk overdose if you ingest too much of these substances at once.
What Are The Risks Of Not Taking Buprenorphine As Often As Prescribed?
Doctors generally prescribe buprenorphine based on your physical and mental health needs to support your recovery process.
Skipping a dose, or missing multiple doses of buprenorphine, might cause opioid withdrawal symptoms to set in, and can also disrupt the progress of your treatment.
Find Buprenorphine Treatment For Opioid Addiction Today
When taken alone or as part of an addiction treatment program, buprenorphine is one of the leading treatments for heroin addiction and opioid use disorder.
By calling us today, we can:
- identify nearby buprenorphine treatment options
- explain what your options for treatment are
- help you find a buprenorphine treatment program that’s right for you
Call our helpline today to learn more about buprenorphine treatment and how to find buprenorphine treatment for yourself or a loved one near you.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- American Society of Addiction Medicine—A Patient’s Guide to Starting Buprenorphine at Home
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—Buprenorphine
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—Buprenorphine Quick Start Guide