A prospective, randomized trial of the effect of buprenorphine continuation versus dose reduction on pain control and post-operative opioid use

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Pharmacy, Surgery, MaineHealth Institute for Research

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MeSH Headings

Adult; Humans; Buprenorphine (therapeutic use); Analgesics, Opioid; Prospective Studies; Acute Pain (drug therapy); Drug Tapering; Opioid-Related Disorders (drug therapy, prevention & control); Pain, Postoperative (drug therapy); Opiate Substitution Treatment (methods)


INTRODUCTION: An increasing number of individuals are taking buprenorphine for management of opioid use disorder (OUD). Pain control can be challenging when these patients develop acute pain requiring supplemental analgesia. Buprenorphine's pharmacokinetic profile can render supplemental opioid-based analgesia ineffective. There is limited guidance on the optimal management of buprenorphine when acute pain is anticipated. Although there is growing acceptance that the risk of OUD relapse with buprenorphine discontinuation overshadows the risks of increased opioid utilization and difficult pain control with buprenorphine continuation, perioperative courses comparing buprenorphine dose reduction and full dose buprenorphine continuation have yet to be investigated. Here, we describe the protocol for our randomized controlled, prospective trial investigating the effect of buprenorphine continuation compared to buprenorphine dose reduction on pain control, post-operative opioid use, and OUD symptom management in patients on buprenorphine scheduled for elective surgery. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This is a single institution, randomized trial that aims to enroll 80 adults using 12 mg buprenorphine or greater for treatment of OUD, scheduled for elective surgery. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive 8mg of buprenorphine on the day of surgery onwards until postsurgical pain subsides or to have their buprenorphine formulation continued at full dose perioperatively. Primary outcome will be a clinically significant difference in pain scores 24 hours following surgery. Secondary outcomes will be opioid consumption at 24, 48, and 72 hours postoperatively, opioid dispensing up to 30 days following surgery, changes in mood and withdrawal symptoms, opioid cravings, relapse of opioid misuse, and continued use of buprenorphine treatment postoperatively.


Yussr Ibrahim, MD- Resident

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