Buprenorphine is a medication to treat opioid dependence. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on October 8, 2002, as a Schedule III narcotic (i.e., it has abuse potential and it is used as a medicine in the United States). This entry describes the pharmacology of buprenorphine, available types, and the drug's safety and efficacy. Buprenorphine is expected to increase access to opioid addiction treatment for an estimated 379,000 current illicit opioid (i.e., heroin) users and approximately 2 million problem users of prescription opi-oids as reported by the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

As a medication that can be prescribed to patients under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000), buprenorphine provides an alternative to patients who are ...

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