Professional Organizations Push for Recall of Buprenorphine Dental Warning – February 2022
On January 24, 2022, a letter from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and ten other health professional associations called for the FDA to immediately and fully retract their Drug Safety Communication on dental problems associated with buprenorphine, which was based on 305 reported cases of dental problems since 2002. The authors note that nearly 2.4 million Americans took buprenorphine in 2019 alone (and many more than that since 2002), so it would not be possible to conclude a causal relationship between exposure to buprenorphine and dental pain, which more than 40% of Americans have experienced during the past year.
With over a million opioid overdoses since 1999, buprenorphine is an effective – yet still underutilized – tool in treating opioid use disorder (OUD), reducing mortality from opioid use disorder by over 50%. Health care providers can help alleviate patient concerns about dental problems by affirming the FDA recommendations that the benefits of buprenorphine clearly outweigh potential risks.