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High-dose tramadol conversion to buprenorphine-naloxone

Julienne K. Kirk, PharmD, BCPS, Charlotte T. Boyd, MA, CHES, Lisa Cassidy-Vu, MD, Linda P. McRae, PsyD, Heather E. Strickland, NP-C, Ernest Blake Fagan, MD


Buprenorphine-naloxone is a combination medication of an opioid partial agonist and opioid antagonist that is proven to be effective in outpatient management of opioid use disorder (OUD). Tramadol is a centrally acting analgesic. This commonly used pain medication inhibits serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake by acting as a selective agonist on opioid μ receptors. Transition and tapering high-dose tramadol to buprenorphine-naloxone is not well described in the literature. We report a case of a patient who was taking 1,000-1,250 mg of tramadol daily upon presentation to the clinic. She was originally prescribed 150 mg daily with escalation in dose and frequency over a 10-year period. The patient was converted to buprenorphine-naloxone and has been successful in treatment of OUD for 1 year.



tramadol; withdrawal; buprenorphine-naloxone

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