The New Kid on the Block—Incorporating Buprenorphine into a Medical Toxicology Practice
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Buprenorphine represents a safe and effective therapy for treating opioid dependence, alleviating craving and withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent patients. Buprenorphine has a “blocking” effect against the action of other opioids at the mu-receptor, preventing not only opioid-induced euphoria, but CNS and respiratory depressant effects as well. Buprenorphine was approved for the treatment of opioid dependence in 2002 after the passage of Drug Abuse Treatment Act 2000 (DATA 2000) which allowed clinicians to treat opioid-dependent patients with specifically named opioid agonist therapies in an office setting. Buprenorphine programs reduce the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C and reduce criminal behaviors associated with illicit drug use. Patients stabilized on buprenorphine have increased employment, enhanced engagement with social services, and better overall health and well-being.
KeywordsBuprenorphine Medical Toxicology Opioid dependence Addiction Drug treatment
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