Buprenorphine Initiation for the Uninitiated
1) WAIT FOR MODERATE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS
- Precipitated withdrawal can be caused by buprenorphine displacing a full opioid agonist. To avoid precipitated withdrawal, begin initiation during moderate withdrawal.
- Moderate withdrawal symptoms: e.g. COWS Score 6-10 or substantial patient discomfort.
- Consider the BUP Home Induction app for guidance.
2) START LOW DOSE BUPRENORPHINE
- Begin with a first dose of 4mg for patients in moderate withdrawal.
- Consider starting with 2mg for patients at higher risk of precipitated withdrawal.
- Pro tip: Rx 8mg BID, then have the patient cut the film in half for the first day's doses.
3) WAIT 4 HOURS, GIVE 4MG
- If the first dose is well tolerated, the patient can take a second 4mg dose later that day.
4) UPTITRATE & REASSESS
- The following day, start 8mg BID
- reassess adequacy after 7 days.
- A majority of patients do well on a total dose of 16mg buprenorphine daily for maintenance therapy.
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