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When opioids fail in chronic pain management: the role for buprenorphine and hospitalization.

Clinicians are increasingly being challenged by patients who are treated for chronic pain with high-dose opioids that can cause medical, social, and societal harm. These patients may best be improved by psychological approaches, adjuvant medications, and opioid reduction or removal, rather than ever-escalating dosing that has become common. Opioid reduction or removal can be a difficult process that, when done incorrectly, may cause patient dissatisfaction or severe discomfort. Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, is slowly becoming recognized as an effective pain treatment, possessing a wide safety margin while offering the opportunity for stabilization of opioid dosing or even removal.

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