Transitioning Hospitalized Patients with Opioid Use Disorder from Methadone to Buprenorphine without a Period of Opioid Abstinence Using a Microdosing Protocol.
Pharmacotherapy. 2019 Jul 26;:
Authors: Terasaki D, Smith C, Calcaterra SL
STUDY OBJECTIVE: Buprenorphine, a partial µ-opioid agonist, is an effective treatment for opioid use disorder that conventionally requires symptoms of withdrawal prior to initiation to avoid precipitating withdrawal. Our institution implemented a microdosing approach to transition patients from full µ-opioid agonists to buprenorphine without requiring patients to undergo a period of opioid abstinence. Little has been published about this strategy in the inpatient setting in the United States, and even less has been published dealing with the transition from methadone to buprenorphine. Our objective was to demonstrate that a microdosing protocol to transition patients from methadone to buprenorphine can be feasibly implemented in a U.S. hospital setting.
DESIGN: Case series.
PATIENTS: Three hospitalized adults with opioid use disorder who received a 1-week buprenorphine microdosing protocol.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: In January 2019, we implemented a 1-week buprenorphine microdosing protocol for hospitalized adult patients with opioid use disorder who were initially stabilized on methadone and wished to start buprenorphine. We gave low-dose buprenorphine concurrently with each patient's full dose of methadone, and the buprenorphine dose was gradually titrated up over 7 days. On day 8, methadone was abruptly discontinued. The buprenorphine dose was further increased based on clinical judgment. All three patients were successfully transitioned from methadone 40-100 mg daily to buprenorphine 12-16 mg daily with minimal symptoms of opioid withdrawal. One patient relapsed and was lost to follow-up; two remained in treatment.
CONCLUSION: A protocol using microdosing of buprenorphine can successfully transition patients receiving full µ-opioid agonist therapy, including methadone, to buprenorphine without the need for a period of opioid abstinence. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 31348544 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]