Abuse and diversion of buprenorphine sublingual tablets and film

Eric J. Lavonas, S. Geoffrey Severtson, Erin M. Martinez, Becki Bucher-Bartelson, Marie Claire Le Lait, Jody L. Green, Lenn E. Murrelle, Theodore J. Cicero, Steven P. Kurtz, Andrew Rosenblum, Hilary L. Surratt, Richard C. Dart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Buprenorphine abuse is common worldwide. Rates of abuse and diversion of three sublingual buprenorphine formulations (single ingredient tablets; naloxone combination tablets and film) were compared. Data were obtained from the Researched Abuse, Diversion, and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System Poison Center, Drug Diversion, Opioid Treatment (OTP), Survey of Key Informants' Patients (SKIP), and College Survey Programs through December 2012. To control for drug availability, event ratios (rates) were calculated quarterly, based on the number of patients filling prescriptions for each formulation ("unique recipients of a dispensed drug," URDD) and averaged and compared using negative binomial regression. Abuse rates in the OTP, SKIP, and College Survey Programs were greatest for single ingredient tablets, and abuse rates in the Poison Center Program and illicit diversion rates were greatest for the combination tablets. Combination film rates were significantly less than rates for either tablet formulation in all programs. No geographic pattern could be discerned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Buprenorphine
  • Drug abuse
  • Drug formulations
  • Substance-related disorders


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