Buprenorphine May Not Be as Safe as You Think: A Pediatric Fatality From Unintentional Exposure

by Dr. Rich on December 19, 2012

We report a fatal exposure to buprenorphine in a small child that occurred after ingestion of a caretaker’s buprenorphine/naloxone. Postmortem toxicology analysis showed free serum concentrations of 52 ng/mL and 39 ng/mL for buprenorphine and norbuprenorphine, respectively. No other drugs were detected. Autopsy did not find signs of injury or trauma. The theoretical safety provided by the ceiling effect in respiratory depression from buprenorphine may not apply to children, and buprenorphine may cause dose-dependent respiratory depression. (Source: PEDIATRICS)

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