alexa From Rare to Reality: The Challenge of Controlling Pain in Patients on Buprenorphine in the Acute Care Setting
ISSN: 2167-1222

Journal of Trauma & Treatment
Open Access

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Short Communication

From Rare to Reality: The Challenge of Controlling Pain in Patients on Buprenorphine in the Acute Care Setting

Timothy J Atkinson1*, Meredith Crumb2 and Mena Raouf2

1Clinical Pharmacy Speciality, VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

2Pharmacy Practice, VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Timothy J Atkinson
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Pain Management Director
PGY-2 Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacy Residency
VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Tel: +15186265000
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: January 30, 2017; Accepted date: February 17, 2017; Published date: February 20, 2017

Citation: Atkinson TJ, Crumb M, Raouf M (2017) From Rare to Reality: The Challenge of Controlling Pain in Patients on Buprenorphine in the Acute Care Setting. J Trauma Treat 6:359. doi:10.4172/2167-1222.1000359

Copyright: © 2017 Atkinson TJ, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the creative commons attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Prescription opioid use has increased dramatically in the past 20 years with prescriptions for opioids and overdoses both increasing by 400% in what is now being called an opioid epidemic. The CDC’s Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain were released in March 2016 and the result has been increasing scrutiny of opioid prescriptions. For pain patients, this means minimizing opioid use and decreasing reliance, while others are being tapered off opioids altogether. Opioid tapers are predictably revealing unanticipated levels of opioid use disorder and unsupportable demand for enrollment in opioid assisted treatment (OAT) via buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) or methadone treatment programs. In July 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services released a final rule increasing prescribing limits of buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) to allow qualifying providers to treat up to 275 patients rather than capping panel size at 100. In addition to increased use in the treatment of opioid use disorder, there are new formulations of buprenorphine approved for chronic pain management. Therefore, while opioid use overall is decreasing, use of buprenorphine itself is dramatically increasing and introducing new challenges to treatment in trauma and acute pain settings based on its unique pharmacology. In recent years, case reports highlighting the challenge of managing pain when patients are treated with buprenorphine were published but until now were rarely seen in practice. It is, therefore, incumbent on all providers in these settings to become intimately familiar with buprenorphine and prepare to safely and effectively manage pain in these challenging patients.


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