The clinical pharmacology of buprenorphine: Extrapolating from the laboratory to the clinic

Sharon L. Walsh, Thomas Eissenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


This paper will review clinical pharmacology studies on buprenorphine, a mixed opioid agonist-antagonist currently approved as a treatment for opioid dependence. The focus is on studies characterizing buprenorphine's pharmacodynamic actions, including its safety, abuse liability, withdrawal suppression and withdrawal precipitation capacity, physical dependence potential, cross-tolerance and duration of action as well as a review of the pharmacological profile of buprenorphine/naloxone combinations. The findings from these clinical pharmacology studies are synthesized and presented in a framework designed to (1) inform clinicians about the advantages and disadvantages of buprenorphine as an opioid maintenance agent, and (2) provide information about dosing procedures that may optimize the use of buprenorphine in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S13-S27
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number2 SUPPL.
StatePublished - May 21 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support for preparation of this review was provided, in part, by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (T32 DA07209 and P50 DA05273) and support from Reckitt-Benckiser.


  • Buprenorphine
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Naloxone
  • Opioid
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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