Course and Treatment of Buprenorphine/Naloxone Withdrawal: An Analysis of Case Reports

Authors

  • Joseph Westermeyer MD, PhD,

    1. Addictive Disorders Service, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
    2. Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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  • Elinore F. McCance-Katz MD, PhD

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California
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Dr. Westermeyer, Minneapolis VAMC, Department of Psychiatry, 1935 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105. E-mail: weste010@umn.edu.

Abstract

Currently published information on buprenorphinenaloxone withdrawal recommends a gradually decreasing dosage over weeks to months. In this case report, abrupt cessation of buprenorphine/naloxone at various doses, and after variable durations of treatment, resulted in mild opiate withdrawal lasting over approximately 1–2 days that did not require additional opioid medication or only specific symptom-relieving, non-opioid, medications. Lengthy withdrawal regimens might prolong withdrawal symptoms unnecessarily, perhaps increasing the risk of re-addiction. Controlled studies of buprenorphine/naloxone withdrawal regimens over varying time frames would help to illuminate the most effective means of opioid discontinuation and inform clinical care. (Am J Addict 2012;00:1–3)

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