A review of the safety of buprenorphine in special populations


      Rates of opioid misuse and opioid use disorder have been increasing in recent years. Buprenorphine has emerged as an appealing medication for its use not only as treatment for opioid use disorder, but also as an opioid for chronic pain that has a ceiling effect on risks associated with opioid therapy. As other opioid prescribing decreases, buprenorphine prescribing continues to increase. As a result, it is imperative to understand the safety and efficacy of its use in special populations. This review article will explore the safety and efficacy of buprenorphine when used in subjects with hepatic and renal impairment, the elderly, and pregnant women. While manufacturer labeling for buprenorphine products may caution against their use in these populations, further examination of available data indicates that buprenorphine can be used safely and effectively for both chronic pain and/or opioid use disorder in all four of these populations.

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