Buprenorphine Prescribing: To Expand or Not to Expand

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As a result of the prescription opioid epidemic in the United States, there has been an increasing need for effective treatment interventions, both pharmacological and nonpharmacological. Buprenorphine has emerged as a critical component of the treatment of opioid use disorder, yet its adoption has not been without some concerns. This article first reviews the pharmacology, clinical use, and US legislative action related to buprenorphine, followed by a discussion of the misuse and diversion of buprenorphine in the United States as well as internationally. We then explore the impact of buprenorphine abuse as well as discussing strategies for its reduction, including changes in policy, prescription and pharmacy monitoring, and continuing medical education for guiding and improving clinical practice.

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