Clinical Use: Testing for buprenorphine is used for clinicians to monitor compliance of buprenorphine and to determine detection of illegal use of buprenorphine.
Background: Clinically, buprenorphine is utilized as a substitution therapy for opioid dependance and as an analgesic. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist of the mu-opioid receptor. These mu binding sites are discretely distributed in the human brain, spinal cord, and other tissue. The clinical effects of mu receptor agonists are sedation, euphoria, respiratory depression, and analgesia. As a partial mu receptor agonist, buprenorphine’s clinical effects are decreased, giving buprenorphine a wider safety margin.

Buprenorphine has a prolonged duration of activity. The combination of decreased clinical effects and prolonged activity gives buprenorphine the added advantage of a delayed and decreased withdrawal syndrome, compared to other opioids. Compared to morphine, buprenorphine is 25 to 40 times more potent. As with any opioid, abuse is always a concern. To reduce illicit use of buprenorphine, it is available mixed with naloxone in a ratio of 4:1. When the combination is taken as prescribed, only small amounts of naloxone will be absorbed. However, if the combination is transformed into the injectable form, naloxone then acts as an opioid receptor antagonist.

The primary clinical utility of quantification of buprenorphine in urine is to identify patients that have strayed from opioid dependence therapy

Reference Ranges:
Associated Diseases:
Patient Preparation: None required
Specimen Requirements: Random urine sample in a plain 25 ml container
Turnaround Time: 2 weeks
Additional Information:
Referred Test: Referred test
Location: Gartnavel General Hospital