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Papers of the Week

2020 Jan 07

J Clin Psychiatry



Perioperative Buprenorphine Continuous Maintenance and Administration Simultaneous With Full Opioid Agonist: Patient Priority at the Interface Between Medical Disciplines.


Buprenorphine is a partial-agonist opioid that is prescribed as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD). Buprenorphine is also a potent analgesic with high opioid-receptor affinity and binding coefficient; when buprenorphine is administered simultaneously with a μ-opioid receptor full agonist ("full agonist opioid" [FAO]), the combination can yield unexpected outcomes depending on dosing and timing. Buprenorphine is sometimes perceived as a powerful competitive opioid blocker that will hamper pharmacologic management that necessitates the use of FAO. When patients receiving buprenorphine-MAT (BUP-MAT) formulations have presented for operative procedures, there has been clinical variance in approach to their BUP-MAT management. Recognizing the risk management challenge from both analgesia and BUP-MAT perspectives, we convened a multidisciplinary group of clinicians who treat BUP-MAT patients and completed a literature review with the goal of generating a guideline for appropriate management of these patients presenting for a broad spectrum of surgical procedures. Our conclusion is that continuous simultaneous administration of buprenorphine products with FAO is safe when accounting for dose and timing, including surgeries that historically produce moderate to severe pain, and may further provide an analgesic advantage, lessen FAO burden, and reduce relapse risk to this group.