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Buprenorphine Exposures Among Young People

Pediatrics; ePub 2018 Jun 25; Post, Spiller, et al

Buprenorphine is important for the treatment of opioid use disorder, but pediatric exposure can result in serious adverse outcomes, according to a recent study. In order to investigate buprenorphine exposures among children and adolescents aged ≤19 years in the US, researchers analyzed data from calls to US poison control centers for 2007–2016 from the National Poison Data System. They found:

  • From 2007 to 2016, there were 11,275 children and adolescents aged ≤19 years exposed to buprenorphine reported to US poison control centers.
  • Most exposures were among children aged <6 years (86.1%), unintentional (89.2%), and to a single substance (97.3%).
  • For single-substance exposures, children aged <6 years had greater odds of hospital admission and of serious medical outcome than adolescents 13 to 19 years old.
  • Adolescents accounted for 11.1% of exposures; 77.1% were intentional (including 12.0% suspected suicide), and 27.7% involved multiple substances.
  • Among adolescents, the odds of hospital admission and a serious medical outcome were higher for multiple-substance exposures than single-substance exposures.


Post S, Spiller HA, Casavant MJ, Chounthirath T, Smith GA. Buprenorphine exposures among children and adolescents reported to US poison control centers. [Published online ahead of print June 25, 2018]. Pediatrics. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-3652.

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