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Why is buprenorphine less addictive than other opioids (like fentanyl) - is it explainable by its strength of binding to the common receptor, or?

Answer:

Buprenorphine is what is referred to as a partial agonist - i.e. it binds to the receptor but even at its maximum cannot give as much of an effect as a full agonist (such as morphine) - it is, thus, also a partial antagonist (partially inhibits the actions of full agonists).

As addiction is likely to be linked to strength of the effect of the drug, buprenorphine has less effect and, therefore, less addiction.

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