Buprenorphin comes in a formulation that can be taken via patch thorugh the skin or under the tongue. In October 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved buprenorphine monotherapy product, Subutex®, and a buprenorphine/naloxone combination product, Suboxone®, for use in narcotic addiction treatment. IT saturates narcotic receptors and prevents a “high”. The combination product is designed to decrease the potential for abuse by injection.
The transdermal form is already well-established for treatment of chronic cancer pain. It was recommended for this purpose by a consensus conference(Pergolizzin et al). The sublingual form is much less studied in this setting. Notably, studiedas logn ago as 1979 by Robbie. He concluded that this sublingual preparation seems worthy of addition to the commercially available range of analgesics in clinical practice. Other publications appeared occasionally over the next 20 years and have been generally supportive. In 2005, Malinoff found it to be well tolerated and safe and appeared to be effective in the treatment of chronic pain patients refractory to other pain medications. It continued to be mildly recommended in more recent reviews.
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