Buprenorphine is a recent addition to the treatment
of opioid dependence in the UK, where historically, methadone has
been seen as the 'gold standard' in treatment. Patients have
limited treatment options in terms of licensed medications when
compared to other mental health conditions.
So why use buprenorphine as a prescribing
option in opioid dependence?
Buprenorphine is a NICE-approved treatment for
both maintenance and detoxification in opioid dependence. It
provides an important alternative to methadone and has similar
efficacy in maintenance. It has also been widely accepted
that it provides superior results when used for detoxification from
opioids when compared to methadone or lofexidine (Cochrane, 2009). However, the relapse rates in
the year post-detoxification remain high whatever the method of
This module will help you gain confidence
in the use of buprenorphine for both the maintenance and
detoxification phases of opioid dependence.