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Cite this article

NIDA. (2014, November 20). Buprenorphine tapering less effective than ongoing maintenance for prescription opioid abuse . Retrieved from

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Science Spotlight

November 20, 2014

Photo of hand with pen writing on prescription pad

A recent NIDA-funded study concludes that maintenance buprenorphine therapy is more effective than tapering and discontinuation of the medication in treating prescription opioid-dependent patients in primary care settings. In this 14-week study, participants whose buprenorphine was tapered over a nine-week period of time (after six weeks of stabilization) were more likely to relapse and drop out of treatment compared to those maintained on the medication. The results suggest that buprenorphine taper should be used only when it is clinically indicated in the treatment of patients dependent on prescription opioids. Additional research is needed to help identify factors associated with successful tapering and maintenance therapy.

For a copy of the article (published online October 20), go to:

To learn more about incorporating medications such as buprenorphine into treatment, go to: