Is Bunavail effective?

Yes, Bunavail buccal film is an effective maintenance medication prescribed for the treatment of opiate addiction. More on its effectiveness and how it works here.

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Yes, Bunavail buccal film is an effective maintenance medication prescribed for the treatment of opiate addiction. It is not, however a fix-all medicine cures addiction by itself. For people to get the most out of their recovery, Bunavail should be used as a part of a complete addiction treatment which includes psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and peer group support.

In this article we will review the effectiveness of Bunavail for opiate and opioid addiction, compare it to Suboxone and go over the possible unwanted side effects. Continue reading here to learn more, and post your questions and comments in the section at the bottom of the page.

How does Bunavail work to affect the brain?

Bunavail buccal film is an opioid partial agonist-antagonist. Made from the two active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone, Bunavail can prevent withdrawal symptoms in someone who has stopped taking narcotics. It is also effective for relieving the need and desire for opioid drugs after cessation of opioid drug use.

Bunavail buccal film was designed using an advanced drug delivery technology called BioErodible MucoAdhesive or BEMA. This novel technology allows buprenorphine to be delivered to the organism in a convenient and efficient manner.

Is Bunavail effective for opiate addiction?

Yes, Bunavail is effective in the treatment of opiate addiction. Studies have shown that Bunavail is more effective than placebo and is equally as effective as moderate doses of methadone in opioid maintenance therapy. Bunavail is unlikely to be as effective as more optimal-dose methadone, and therefore may not be the treatment of choice for patients with higher levels of physical dependence. Plus, the addictive potential of Bunavail is relatively low. However, a doctor can decide the strength of medically assisted opioid treatment that is needed and if a patient can benefit the use of Bunavail.

Is Bunavail more effective than Suboxone?

Bunavail competes directly with Suboxone – the leading medication in this category on the market. However, Bunavail is the first muco-adhesive formulation that delivers buprenorphine very efficiently to the bloodstream. Additionally, Bunavail allows twice the amount of buprenorphine to be absorbed into the body compared to Suboxone. This means that Bunavail buccal film has double the bioavailability of Suboxone and you only need half the dose to reach the same plasma concentrations and wanted effects. In terms of dosage, Bunavail vs. Suboxone:

  • Bunavail 2.1mg/0.3mg = Suboxone 4mg/1mg (buprenorphine/naloxone)
  • Bunavail 4.2mg/0.7mg = Suboxone 8mg/2mg (buprenorphine/naloxone)
  • Bunavail 6.3mg/1mg = Suboxone 12mg/3mg (buprenorphine/naloxone)

This is simple to explain: Bunavail has a quicker absorption time than Suboxone, so you need a lower dose of medication, which is better because of the lower number of side-effects and lower potential for abuse.

Unwanted side effects of Bunavail

Just like with any other medication, side effects have occurred after Bunavail use. Patients should be informed about the possible unwanted effects before treatment is initiated and should be advised to seek medical help and report the side effects if and when they occur. In fact, any uncomfortable effects from Bunavail that are persistent and with a higher intensity should be reported and attended.

Here are the most common side effects reported in clinical trials. Note that this is not the full list of possible effects:

  • constipation
  • headaches
  • increased sweating
  • insomnia
  • lack of energy
  • mild nausea
  • redness or numbness inside your mouth
  • sleepiness
  • swelling of arms or legs
  • tongue pain
  • vomiting

Positive and negative effects of Bunavail

Although the decision to take Bunavail buccal film should be made along with your doctor and treatment provider, we thought you may also benefit a list of compared effects of Bunavail. So, we compiled this list in order to help you make up your mind.

Bunavail is effective for:

1. Patients who have doctor’s clearance after a careful medical assessment to use Bunavail as a part of their opiate maintenance treatment.
2. Patients who are motivated to work on their recovery and are dedicated to their treatment program. Bunavail shows best results when used along with counseling, psychotherapy, educational sessions, cognitive-behavioral treatment, adequate medical and family support and other types of treatment.
3. Patients who have finished the detox period and who are no longer experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms are safe to initiate Bunavail treatment.
4. Patients who have no liver or kidney damage or disease can benefit from the effects of Bunavail without putting their general health at risk.
5. Patients who have passed the initial Narcan test, which proves that all opioids have left the system, can benefit from Bunavail without experiencing any withdrawal symptoms.

Bunavail may not be not effective for:

1. People who have any type of breathing problem or lung disease. Bunavail can cause breathing problems, especially in elderly patients or in patients in a poor general health state.
2. Patients who have kidney or liver disease. Bunavail undergoes metabolism in the liver and is mainly excreted through the kidneys, and may worsen these conditions if taken in diagnosed patients.
3. Patients who are allergic to buprenorphine or naloxone should not use this medicine. Bunavail is also not recommended for those allergic to any of the other substances that this medication contains.
4. Pregnant women may be putting their unborn child at risk of harm if using Bunavail during pregnancy. Bunavail is categorized by the FDA as a pregnant category C drug: this means that women should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or planning to form a family if they are taking Bunavail.
5. Patients who have a newborn baby should not breastfeed while using Bunavail. The buprenorphine form Bunavail can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby.
6. Patients who are still using opioid drugs or alcohol, or have not yet went through the acute withdrawal phase should not be initiated Bunavail treatment.

Bunavail effectiveness questions

Do you still have questions about the efficacy of Bunavail? Please leave us your questions in the comments form below. We do our best to respond to all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference sources: RxList: Bunavail
FDA: BUNAVAIL (buprenorphine and naloxone) buccal film
PBM: Buprenorphine / Naloxone Buccal Film (BUNAVAIL)
NC State Health Plan: Buprenorphine tablets and Buprenorphine/Naloxone tablets/films
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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