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Pain Med. 2013 Sep;14(9):1374-80. doi: 10.1111/pme.12142. Epub 2013 May 21.

Dose patterns among patients using low-dose buprenorphine patches.

Author information

1
Nordic Health Economics AB, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to investigate the dose pattern of low-dose buprenorphine patches among patients in Swedish clinical practice. The clinical experts among the coauthors interpreted the results in relation to possible indications of development of tolerance and/or dependence/addiction.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

This was a nationwide, observational study using data from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register.

SUBJECTS:

Individuals who were dispensed the low-dose buprenorphine patches continuously for more than 24 weeks during July 1, 2005 to February 28, 2011 were included.

METHODS:

The dose pattern was analyzed as the change in dose over time for each patient: 1) the dose at baseline compared with each of the following 8-week intervals, and 2) the dose at baseline compared with the dose during the patients' last treatment period.

RESULTS:

The majority of the patients were female (74%), and most were 75 years and older (69%). The median treatment duration was 260 days, and 4% and 1% of patients remained on continuous treatment for 2 and 3 years, respectively. The mean dose was 11 μg/h at baseline, and 15 μg/h during the patients' last treatment period. The average dose increased by 4 μg/h during the patients' entire treatment course.

CONCLUSIONS:

The average dose increased by 4 μg/h during the patients' treatment course, which lasted on an average of 260 days. From a clinical perspective, the dose increase of 4 μg/h is low and does not suggest dependence/addiction, as also supported by the low proportion of patients remaining on continuous treatment.

KEYWORDS:

Buprenorphine; Dose Patterns; Drug Utilization; Opioid-Related Disorders; Tolerance; Transdermal

PMID:
23692014
DOI:
10.1111/pme.12142
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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