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Papers of the Week

2022 Mar 18


Buprenorphine Initiation Strategies for Opioid Use Disorder and Pain Management: A Systematic Review.


Spreen LA, Dittmar EN, Quirk KC, Smith MA
Pharmacotherapy. 2022 Mar 18.
PMID: 35302671.


Buprenorphine possesses many unique attributes that make it a practical agent for adults and adolescents with opioid use disorder (OUD) and/or acute or chronic pain. Sublingual buprenorphine has been the standard of care for treating OUD, but its use in pain management is not as clearly defined. Current practice guidelines recommend a period of mild to moderate withdrawal from opioids before transitioning to buprenorphine due to its ability to displace full agonists from the μ-opioid receptor. However, this strategy can lead to negative physical and psychological outcomes for patients. Novel initiation strategies suggest that concomitant administration of small doses of buprenorphine with opioids can avoid the unwanted withdrawal associated with buprenorphine initiation. We aim to systematically review the buprenorphine initiation strategies that have emerged in the last decade.