Buprenorphine: considerations for pain management.


Journal Article (Review)

New effective analgesics are needed for the treatment of pain. Buprenorphine, a partial mu-opioid agonist which has been in clinical use for over 25 years, has been found to be amenable to new formulation technology based on its physiochemical and pharmacological profile. Buprenorphine is marketed as parenteral, sublingual, and transdermal formulations. Unlike full mu-opioid agonists, at higher doses, buprenorphine's physiological and subjective effects, including euphoria, reach a plateau. This ceiling may limit the abuse potential and may result in a wider safety margin. Buprenorphine has been used for the treatment of acute and chronic pain, as a supplement to anesthesia, and for behavioral and psychiatric disorders including treatment for opioid addiction. Prolonged use of buprenorphine can result in physical dependence. However, withdrawal symptoms appear to be mild to moderate in intensity compared with those of full mu agonists. Overdoses have primarily involved buprenorphine taken in combination with other central nervous system depressants.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Johnson, RE; Fudala, PJ; Payne, R

Published Date

  • March 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 297 - 326

PubMed ID

  • 15781180

Pubmed Central ID

  • 15781180

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0885-3924

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2004.07.005


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States