Buprenorphine as an Alternative for Treatment of Opioid Dependence

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Somchai Sinchaisuk


Besides its use as an opioid analgesic, buprenorphine is now becoming more favorable,as compared with methadone, to be used as an opioid maintenance agent in the treatment of opioid dependence. Several clinical studies have demonstrated that buprenorphine can be as effective as methadone in opioid maintenance treatment and has some advantages over methadone. With its partial agonist profile, buprenorphine has been proved to have high safety profile, low abuse potential, and low physical dependence. Considering that treatment of opioid dependence will require long-term commitment, all those properties of buprenorphine may determine whether a successful treatment can be achieved. This article will review pharmacology of buprenorphine, including cross-tolerance, physical dependence potential, its clinical efficacy and its safety profile as well as a review of how to use buprenorphine as a maintenance therapy for opioid dependence.


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