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Research Looks at Reducing Buprenorphine’s Impact on Oral Health

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Addressing opioid use disorder (OUD) is challenging and medication-assisted treatment has become the most widely used approach. Buprenorphine is one of the most effective opioid partial agonists. It initiates similar effects as opioids, preventing the user from withdrawal, but at a much-reduced level than other medications such as methadone. Unlike other United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved OUD medications, physicians can prescribe buprenorphine without a special Drug Enforcement Administration waiver, improving treatment accessibility. However, lesser-known side effects have emerged, particularly when taken sublingually: serious dental health problems. A team of researchers at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy has received a $1.4 million grant from the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research to study how to ameliorate oral health side effects including dental caries, oral infections, and tooth loss. The research is investigating ways to counteract buprenorphine’s negative impact on salivary flow. Click here to read more.

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