Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: An Overview

CNS Drugs. 2019 Jun;33(6):567-580. doi: 10.1007/s40263-019-00637-z.


Opioid use disorder affects over 26 million individuals worldwide. There are currently three World Health Organization-recommended and US Food and Drug Administration-approved medication treatments for opioid use disorder: the full opioid agonist methadone, the opioid partial agonist buprenorphine, and the opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone. We provide a review of the use of buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder and discuss the barriers, challenges, risks, and efficacy of buprenorphine treatment vs. other treatments. Although evidence from numerous studies has shown buprenorphine to be effective for the treatment of opioid use disorder, a majority of patients with opioid use disorder do not receive buprenorphine, or any other medical treatment. We review the different formulations of buprenorphine, including newer long-acting injectable formulations that may decrease the risk of diversion and improve adherence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Buprenorphine / administration & dosage
  • Buprenorphine / adverse effects
  • Buprenorphine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence
  • Narcotic Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Narcotic Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment / methods*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / prevention & control*


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Buprenorphine