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Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2013;25(3):323-30. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2013-0069.

Buprenorphine in the treatment of non-suicidal self-injury: a case series and discussion of the literature.


A global public health problem, non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is highly prevalent in both males and females, and tends to first occur in adolescence. NSSI is correlated with a history of childhood trauma, and with a variety of developmental and psychiatric disorders. NSSI is associated with increased risk of morbidity and premature death from suicide, accidents, and natural causes. Current treatment approaches are inadequate for a substantial number of people. Converging evidence for opioid system dysregulation in individuals with NSSI make this a promising area of investigation for more effective treatments. The pharmacological profile of buprenorphine, a potent μ-opioid partial agonist and κ-opioid antagonist, suggests that it may be beneficial. In this paper, we describe the successful treatment of severe NSSI with buprenorphine in six individuals, followed by discussion and further recommendations.

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