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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 May 2022 - 27 May 2022

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 Jun




Demystifying Buprenorphine with Current Evidence-Based Practice in Acute and Chronic Pain Management.


Giron SE, Lai G, Griffis CA, Zhang SJ
AANA J. 2022 Jun; 90(3):225-233.
PMID: 35604865.


Buprenorphine has been widely used in opioid medication assisted treatment (MAT) in the past decade. However, due to misinterpretation of its intrinsic mu opioid receptor activity extrapolated from preclinical and animal data, buprenorphine's clinical application in pain management has been greatly limited. Buprenorphine acts as a full mu agonist with fewer side effects compared to traditional opioids and can be effectively used in the treatment of acute and chronic pain. A strong body of evidence demonstrates that buprenorphine is an effective analgesic agent in both adult and pediatric surgical patients. In addition, buprenorphine has been successfully used in treating chronic pain, particularly in cancer pain and neuropathic pain. In this Journal course, buprenorphine's receptor pharmacology and pharmacokinetics are reviewed. Specifically, misinterpretation of its intrinsic mu receptor activity, and both analgesic ceiling effect and efficacy are clarified. Differences between suboxone and buprenorphine, and specific applications are explained. Pain management options and guidelines for surgical patients on buprenorphine are discussed, as well.