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Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opiate. Buprenorphine hydrochloride was first marketed in the 1980s by Reckitt & Colman as a pain relief medication, available generally as Temgesic tablets, and as Buprenex injectable formulation.

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Buprenorphine is widely used for severe pain relief as well as an alternative drug to heroin during drug rehibilitation. Buprenorphine is a thebaine derivative with powerful pain relief properties approximately twenty-five to forty times as potent as morphine, and its analgesic effect is due to partial agonist activity at μ-opioid receptors, i.e, when the molecule binds to a receptor, it is less likely to give a response in contrast to a full agonist such as morphine.

Due to its properties an over dose of Buprenorphine cannot be easily reversed. An over dose is most likely in people not regular opium drug users. Opium users are the most regular recreationally users on the drug. They report a feeling of general well being, they become more talkative and outgoing. Due to its potency only small amounts need be taken to get the effect desired.

On September 21, 2006, actor and comedian Artie Lange revealed on The Howard Stern Show that he had overcome heroin addiction the previous year. He said Buprenorphine was essential to countering the effects of opioid withdrawal and described it as a 'miracle pill'. The withdrawal from Buprenorphine is generally far milder than other potent opioids. Many users report minimal physical withdrawal symptoms. Far more difficult is the process of psychological readjustment after discontinuing therapy and getting used to life without the help and comfort the buprenorphine provides.

Its street names include subbies and Temmies. In the film Trainspotting the main hero of the film (played by Ewan McGregor uses) Buprenorphine when first coming of Heroin addiction, which he buys from a dealer he knows in the form of suppositories.

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