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Buprenorphine: The Basic Pharmacology Revisited

Cowan, Alan PhD

Journal of Addiction Medicine: June 2007 - Volume 1 - Issue 2 - p 68-72
doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e31806c9202
Invited Review

The historical background leading to the current use of buprenorphine as an analgesic and its role in the management of opioid dependence is summarized. The popular description of buprenorphine as a “partial agonist” is discussed in relation to efficacy in animal models of antinociception and clinical analgesia. The latest information on the respiratory depressant effects of buprenorphine and its N-dealkylated metabolite (norbuprenorphine) is presented. New data on the buprenorphine withdrawal syndrome in rats are described.

From the Department of Pharmacology and Center for Substance Abuse Research, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Alan Cowan, Department of Pharmacology, Temple University School of Medicine, 3420 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140. e-mail:

© 2007 American Society of Addiction Medicine