buprenorphine, taper, opioid use disorder
Opioid use disorder (OUD) is increasing in incidence in the United States. Buprenorphine is the mainstay of medication-assisted treatment for OUD. Nurse practitioners play an essential role in solving the opioid epidemic and are increasingly relied on to prescribe buprenorphine. Even though buprenorphine is considered a long-term therapy, many patients request to taper off the drug. Evidence suggests that tapering from buprenorphine is frequently unsuccessful and remains as a challenge. The purpose of this article is to provide the best available evidence regarding the taper of buprenorphine in patients with OUD. Considering a buprenorphine taper should begin by evaluating if the patient is a good candidate, specifically if their maintenance dose of buprenorphine is less than 8 mg/day. This evaluation should also include assessment of the patient’s withdrawal expectation. Evidence suggests that a longer buprenorphine taper duration combined with naltrexone leads to better results compared to shorter tapers without naltrexone. Ancillary medications and counseling should be made available to patients as a component of the tapering protocol. Tapering from buprenorphine is difficult but following current evidence gives patients the best likelihood of success.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Snyder, Alexis Diane, "Tapering Buprenorphine" (2021). Student Works. 316.
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