Pain management in palliative care (PC) is becoming more complex as patients survive longer with life-limiting illnesses and population-wide trends involving opioid misuse become more common in serious illness. Buprenorphine, a generally safe partial mu-opioid receptor agonist, has been shown to be effective for both pain management and opioid use disorder. It is critical that PC clinicians become comfortable with indications for its use, strategies for initiation while understanding risks and benefits. This article, written by a team of PC and addiction-trained specialists, including physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, and a pharmacist, offers 10 tips to demystify buprenorphine use in serious illness.
Keywords: addiction; buprenorphine; opioid use disorder; palliative care.