A Case of Acute Opioid Withdrawal after Liposuction Surgery in a Patient on Extended-release Buprenorphine.

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BACKGROUND: The US Food and Drug Administration approved the once-monthly injectable extended-release buprenorphine product to treat moderate-to-severe opioid use disorders. The patient in our case report had a liposuction procedure and immediately started having opioid withdrawal symptoms after the procedure.

CASE DESCRIPTION: The patient is a 27-year-old African-American woman who injects drugs and has morbid obesity. She enrolled in a medications for addiction treatment program and opted to get treated with extended-release buprenorphine monthly injections. She tolerated them well for a span of 6 months. In one clinic visit, she reported opioid withdrawal symptoms and started purchasing and using sublingual buprenorphine from her acquaintances. On review of history, she underwent liposuction surgery and this triggered the opioid withdrawal symptoms. Examining her abdomen revealed surgical scars at the site of the buprenorphine injection and the residual buprenorphine depot was not palpable.A subcutaneous injection of 300-mg extended release buprenorphine was administered in the right periumbilical area in this clinic visit. The following week, she was doing well and denied any withdrawal symptoms.

DISCUSSION: This is a unique case of "iatrogenic opioid withdrawal" after a fairly common surgical procedure. The extended-release buprenorphine formulation solidifies when it comes into contact with bodily fluids forming a depot. The depot and surrounding adipose tissue may have been removed during the patient's liposuction procedure, causing an immediate drop in buprenorphine levels leading to acute opioid withdrawal.This case report highlights the precautions that need to be taken before patients go for a surgical procedure like liposuction.

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J Addict Med


online ahead of print

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