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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Oct 2022 - 7 Oct 2022

Pharmacology/Drug Development


Adv Drug Alcohol Res


Buprenorphine as a Treatment for Major Depression and Opioid Use Disorder.


Namchuk AB, Lucki I, Browne CA
Adv Drug Alcohol Res. 2022; 2.
PMID: 36177442.


Rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) are disproportionally high in subjects with opioid use disorder (OUD) relative to the general population. MDD is often more severe in OUD patients, leading to compliance issues with maintenance therapies and poor outcomes. A growing body of literature suggests that endogenous opioid system dysregulation may play a role in the emergence of MDD. Buprenorphine, a mixed opioid receptor agonist/antagonist approved for the treatment of OUD and chronic pain, may have potential as a novel therapeutic for MDD, especially for patients with a dual diagnosis of MDD and OUD. This paper presents a comprehensive review of papers relevant to the assessment of buprenorphine as a treatment for MDD, OUD, and/or suicide compiled using electronic databases per Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The principal goal of this literature review was to compile the clinical studies that have interrogated the antidepressant activity of buprenorphine in opioid naïve MDD patients and OUD patients with comorbid MDD. Evidence supporting buprenorphine's superiority over methadone for treating comorbid OUD and MDD was also considered. Finally, recent evidence for the ability of buprenorphine to alleviate suicidal ideation in both opioid-naïve patients and opioid-experienced patients was evaluated. Synthesizing all of this information, buprenorphine emerges as a potentially effective therapeutic for the dual purposes of treating MDD and OUD.