FDA: Buprenorphine, used to treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) can cause serious dental problems in patients.

by User Not Found | Mar 24, 2022

On January 12, 2022, the FDA released a Drug Safety Communication warning of dental problems associated with buprenorphine medications dissolved in the mouth. Transmucosal buprenorphine medications, used to treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) as part of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), as well as for pain, have the potential to cause serious dental problems in patients. As such, these patients should be identified and monitored closely by their dental providers.

These dental problems were identified through reports made to the FDA  Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database as well as through medical literature. Dental problems include caries (including rampant caries), tooth erosion, lost restorations, dental abscesses and tooth loss.

The communication outlines steps dental providers can take to help manage patients taking these medications. Dental providers should:

  • Record a baseline dental evaluation and caries risk assessment
  • Formulate a comprehensive dental caries preventive care plan
  • Encourage regular dental exams
  • Advise patients:
    • That benefits of transmucosal buprenorphine clearly outweigh the risks
    • Not to stop taking buprenorphine without talking to their health care provider (HCP) as stopping suddenly can cause serious problems
    • After allowing their transmucosal buprenorphine to completely dissolve in their mouth, to rinse with water and swallow
    • To not brush for at least one hour after taking their transmucosal buprenorphine
    • To seek dental treatment if they experience any problems with their teeth or gums while taking these medications

The FDA Drug Safety Communication can be found here.

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