Buprenorphine Pharmacology Review: Update on Transmucosal and Long-acting Formulations

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95 Scopus citations


Buprenorphine is an effective treatment for opioid use disorder. As a high-affinity, partial agonist for the mu-opioid receptor, buprenorphine suppresses opioid withdrawal and craving, reduces illicit opioid use, and blocks exogenous opioid effects including respiratory depression. Other pharmacologic benefits of buprenorphine are its superior safety profile compared with full opioid agonists and its long half-life that allows daily or less-than-daily dosing. New and innovative buprenorphine formulations, with pharmacokinetic profiles that differ from the original tablet formulation, continue to be developed. These include higher bioavailability transmucosal tablets and films and also 6-month implantable and monthly injectable products. This growing array of available formulations allows more choices for patients and increased opportunity for clinicians to individualize treatment; thus, it is important for buprenorphine prescribers to understand these differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Addiction Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Society of Addiction Medicine.


  • buprenorphine depot injections
  • buprenorphine implants
  • clinical pharmacology
  • opioid use disorder
  • pharmaceutical technology
  • pharmacokinetics
  • sublingual buprenorphine
  • sustained-release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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