From research to the real world: Buprenorphine in the decade of the Clinical Trials Network

Walter Ling, Petra Jacobs, Maureen Hillhouse, Albert Hasson, Christie Thomas, Thomas Freese, Steven Sparenborg, Dennis McCarty, Roger Weiss, Andrew Saxon, Allan Cohen, Michele Straus, Gregory Brigham, David Liu, Paul McLaughlin, Betty Tai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) established the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) in 1999 to bring researchers and treatment providers together to develop a clinically relevant research agenda. Initial CTN efforts addressed the use of buprenorphine, a mu-opioid partial agonist, as treatment for opioid dependence. Strong evidence of buprenorphine's therapeutic efficacy was demonstrated in clinical trials involving several thousand opioid-dependent participants, and in 2002, the Food and Drug Administration approved buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid dependence. With the advent of a sublingual tablet containing both buprenorphine and naloxone to mitigate abuse and diversion (Suboxone), buprenorphine appeared poised to be the first-line treatment for opioid addiction. Notwithstanding its many attributes, certain implementation barriers remained to be addressed in CTN studies, and these efforts have brought a body of knowledge on buprenorphine to frontline clinicians. The purpose of this article is to review CTN-based buprenorphine research and related efforts to overcome challenges to the implementation of buprenorphine therapy in mainstream practice. Furthermore, this article explores current issues and future challenges that may require additional CTN efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S53-S60
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Buprenorphine
  • CTN
  • Clinical Trials Network
  • Opiate dependence
  • Opioids
  • Pharmacotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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