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Is Suboxone FDA approved for chronic pain?

Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) in its tablet/film form is currently used off-label for chronic pain. There is a patch form called Butrans that has been FDA approved for chronic pain. However, most medications prescribed by doctors in the United States are used "off label" (aka - for a purpose other than their FDA approval). Doctors are more and more frequently prescribing Suboxone for chronic pain, with or without a concurrent diagnosis of substance use disorder.

This means that many patients who do NOT use opioid medications are using Suboxone for their pain, because it is in many ways a safer long-term alternative to opioids.

Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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