Buprenorphine in opioid dependence

by Dr Lucinda M. Cockayne and Ms Elizabeth Hutchings


Last reviewed: January 2018 by Dr Michael Kehoe


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 detoxification.


This module will help you gain confidence in the use of buprenorphine for both the maintenance and detoxification phases of opioid dependence.


Start the module



If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Safe and effective opioid replacement therapy by Dr Brian Kidd, Dr Manjunatha Anantharamu and Dr Venkata S.K. Arvapalli 


Stimulants: epidemiology and impact on mental health by Professor Fabrizio Schifano and Dr Antonio Albanese


Stimulants: treatment approaches and organising services by Professor Fabrizio Schifano and Dr Antonio Albanese


Substance misuse in older people by Dr Rahul Rao and Professor Ilana Crome


Podcast: Amphetamine-type stimulant drugs: a dangerous trend? by Professor Hamid Ghodse



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© 2018 Royal College of Psychiatrists