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Review article. Buprenorphine in the workers' compensation setting

Stephen Colameco, MD, MEd, FASAM, Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM


Buprenorphine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of chronic pain in low-dose transdermal patch formulations and for the treatment of addiction in high-dose sublingual tablets and films. Clinicians often prescribe these high-dose preparations “off label” for pain management. In the workers' compensation setting, it is particularly important to consider factors such as a) if the injured person has, and is being treated for co-occurring addiction as well as pain; b) if alternative therapies, including opioid withdrawal, were considered prior to initiating buprenorphine treatment; and c) the anticipated duration of treatment. This article reviews buprenorphine's approved indications, formulations, pharmacology, clinical efficacy, and special considerations in the workers' compensation setting.


buprenorphine, workers' compensation, chronic pain, opioid dependence

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