Buprenorphine Testing

What is Buprenorphine?  Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic derived from thebaine, a component of opium.  Buprenorphine has structural similarities to morphine, but has both antagonist and agonist properties.  Buprenorphine is most commonly used in the treatment of opiate dependency and is the primary drug found in the medications, Suboxone and Subutex, used for this purpose. 

Why test for Buprenorphine?  In 2003, the US Drug Abuse Treatment Act gave physician's the ability to treat opiate dependency with Suboxone and Subutex.  Unlike methadone, a synthetic opiate used to treat opiate addiction that needs to be dispensed at a state-regulated clinic, a physician can write a prescription for medications that contain buprenorphine. For patients on buprenorphine therapy, regular drug screening should be utilized to ensure they are taking the prescribed medication and abstaining from illegal or non-prescribed opiates.  As more prescriptions for buprenorphine are written, more buprenorphine tablets are being found on the street. Buprenorphine has been shown to have abuse potential and may cause dependency.  Illicit buprenorphine tablets are generally used by opiate addicts to stave-off withdrawl symptoms when they are unable to obtain full opiate agonists (i.e. heroin, oxycodone) and as a party drug by non-opiate dependent individuals.  Deaths from buprenorphine misuse are usually opiate-naive individuals and result from combining buprenorphine with other CNS depressants (i.e. alcohol and benzodiazepines). 

Testing Information?   Options Lab uses enzyme immunoassay screening to detect buprenorphine.  The method uses a cut-off of 5 ng/ml and has equal cross-reactivity to norbuprenorphine, the primary urinary metabolite of buprenorphine.  We are able to provide quantitation of clinical screening results to assist in accessing medication compliance.   Forensic presumptive positive screening results are confirmed using LC/MS/MS.

For more information on buprenorphine testing, please contact Options Lab at 920-882-1646