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Guide to Using Buprenorphine for Pain

Buprenorphine is widely used as a treatment for patients with opioid use disorders but has also been shown to be an effective treatment for cancer and neuropathic pain, with unique pharmacologic properties that give it several advantages over traditional opioids. Buprenorphine is associated with less analgesic tolerance and is less likely to cause respiratory depression and constipation than other opioids. Buprenorphine also does not cause immunosuppression, sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, or hypogonadism like traditional opioids. It may be ideal to consider for elderly or frail patients because it causes less cognitive dysfunction and sedation. In addition, patients are less likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms and develop drug dependence on buprenorphine when compared with other opioids.


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The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) is the professional organization for physicians, nurses and other health care providers specializing in hospice and palliative care. Learn more.

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