Buprenorphine, sold under the trade name Subutex, is a long-acting opiate primarily used to treat narcotic (opioid) dependence. It is most commonly sold as a pill that dissolves under the tongue. Its main purpose is to prevent withdrawal symptoms from occurring in an individual, by stimulating the opiate receptors in the brain. Subutex has a greater attraction to the opiate receptors than other drugs such as heroin and methadone, which reduces or removes the desire to take such drugs.
Subutex binds so tightly to the opiate receptors, that taking heroin or methadone will have little or no effect. This drug is generally used in narcotic drug treatment programs, and prescribed in varying doses. The effects of subutex are less pronounced than those of other opiates, giving the individual the feeling of being somewhat "normal" once more.
Suboxone is a variant of subutex, containing an additional ingredient called naloxone. It is the form generally given to patients. Its effects are the same as Subutex.