Buprenorphine can be abused in a similar manner to other opioids. Clinical monitoring appropriate to the patient's level of stability is essential. Multiple refills should not be prescribed early in treatment or without appropriate patient follow-up visits. (5.1) Significant respiratory depression and death have occurred in association with buprenorphine, particularly when taken by the intravenous (IV) route in combination with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (including alcohol). (5.2) Consider dose reduction of CNS depressants, SUBOXONE sublingual film, or both in situations of concomitant prescription. (5.3) Store SUBOXONE sublingual film safely out of the sight and reach of children. Buprenorphine can cause severe, possibly fatal, respiratory depression in children. (5.4) Chronic administration produces opioid-type physical dependence. Abrupt discontinuation or rapid dose taper may result in opioid withdrawal syndrome. (5.5) Monitor liver function tests prior to initiation and during treatment and evaluate suspected hepatic events. (5.6) Do not administer SUBOXONE sublingual film to patients with known hypersensitivity to buprenorphine or naloxone. (5.7) An opioid withdrawal syndrome is likely to occur with parenteral misuse of SUBOXONE sublingual film by individuals physically dependent on full opioid agonists, or by sublingual or buccal administration before the agonist effects of other opioids have subsided. (5.8) Neonatal withdrawal has been reported following use of buprenorphine by the mother during pregnancy. (5.9) SUBOXONE sublingual film is not appropriate as an analgesic. There have been reported deaths of opioid naïve individuals who received a 2 mg sublingual dose. (5.10) Buprenorphine/naloxone products are not recommended in patients with severe hepatic impairment and may not be appropriate for patients with moderate hepatic impairment (5.11) Caution patients about the risk of driving or operating hazardous machinery. (5.12) 5.1 Abuse Potential Buprenorphine can be abused in a manner similar to other opioids, legal or illicit. Prescribe and dispense buprenorphine with appropriate precautions to minimize risk of misuse, abuse, or diversion, and ensure appropriate protection from theft, including in the home. Clinical monitoring appropriate to the patient's level of stability is essential. Multiple refills should not be prescribed early in treatment or without appropriate patient follow-up visits [see Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.2)]. 5.2 Respiratory Depression Buprenorphine, particularly when taken by the IV route, in combination with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (including alcohol), has been associated with significant respiratory depression and death. Many, but not all, post-marketing reports regarding coma and death associated with the concomitant use of buprenorphine and benzodiazepines involved misuse by self-injection. Deaths have also been reported in association with concomitant administration of buprenorphine with other depressants such as alcohol or other CNS depressant drugs. Patients should be warned of the potential danger of self-administration of benzodiazepines or other depressants while under treatment with SUBOXONE sublingual film [see Drug Interactions (7.3)]. In the case of overdose, the primary management should be the re-establishment of adequate ventilation with mechanical assistance of respiration, if required. Naloxone may be of value for the management of buprenorphine overdose. Higher than normal doses and repeated administration may be necessary. SUBOXONE sublingual film should be used with caution in patients with compromised respiratory function (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cor pulmonale, decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression). 5.3 CNS Depression Patients receiving buprenorphine in the presence of opioid analgesics, general anesthetics, benzodiazepines, phenothiazines, other tranquilizers, sedative/hypnotics, or other CNS depressants (including alcohol) may exhibit increased CNS depression. Consider dose reduction of CNS depressants, SUBOXONE sublingual film, or both in situations of concomitant prescription [see Drug Interactions (7.3)]. 5.4 Unintentional Pediatric Exposure Buprenorphine can cause severe, possibly fatal, respiratory depression in children who are accidentally exposed to it. Store buprenorphine-containing medications safely out of the sight and reach of children. 5.5 Dependence Buprenorphine is a partial agonist at the mu-opioid receptor and chronic administration produces physical dependence of the opioid type, characterized by withdrawal signs and symptoms upon abrupt discontinuation or rapid taper. The withdrawal syndrome is typically milder than seen with full agonists and may be delayed in onset. Buprenorphine can be abused in a manner similar to other opioids. This should be considered when prescribing or dispensing buprenorphine in situations when the clinician is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse, or diversion [see Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.3)]. 5.6 Hepatitis, Hepatic Events Cases of cytolytic hepatitis and hepatitis with jaundice have been observed in individuals receiving buprenorphine in clinical trials and through post-marketing adverse event reports. The spectrum of abnormalities ranges from transient asymptomatic elevations in hepatic transaminases to case reports of death, hepatic failure, hepatic necrosis, hepatorenal syndrome, and hepatic encephalopathy. In many cases, the presence of pre-existing liver enzyme abnormalities, infection with hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus, concomitant usage of other potentially hepatotoxic drugs, and ongoing injecting drug use may have played a causative or contributory role. In other cases, insufficient data were available to determine the etiology of the abnormality. Withdrawal of buprenorphine has resulted in amelioration of acute hepatitis in some cases; however, in other cases no dose reduction was necessary. The possibility exists that buprenorphine had a causative or contributory role in the development of the hepatic abnormality in some cases. Liver function tests, prior to initiation of treatment, are recommended to establish a baseline. Periodic monitoring of liver function during treatment is also recommended. A biological and etiological evaluation is recommended when a hepatic event is suspected. Depending on the case, SUBOXONE sublingual film may need to be carefully discontinued to prevent withdrawal signs and symptoms and a return by the patient to illicit drug use, and strict monitoring of the patient should be initiated. 5.7 Allergic Reactions Cases of hypersensitivity to buprenorphine and naloxone containing products have been reported both in clinical trials and in the post-marketing experience. Cases of bronchospasm, angioneurotic edema, and anaphylactic shock have been reported. The most common signs and symptoms include rashes, hives, and pruritus. A history of hypersensitivity to buprenorphine or naloxone is a contraindication to the use of SUBOXONE sublingual film. 5.8 Precipitation of Opioid Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms Because it contains naloxone, SUBOXONE sublingual film is likely to produce withdrawal signs and symptoms if misused parenterally by individuals dependent on full opioid agonists such as heroin, morphine, or methadone. Because of the partial agonist properties of buprenorphine, SUBOXONE sublingual film may precipitate opioid withdrawal signs and symptoms in such persons if administered before the agonist effects of the opioid have subsided. 5.9 Neonatal Withdrawal Neonatal withdrawal has been reported in the infants of women treated with buprenorphine during pregnancy. From post-marketing reports, the time to onset of neonatal withdrawal signs ranged from Day 1 to Day 8 of life with most cases occurring on Day 1. Adverse events associated with the neonatal withdrawal syndrome included hypertonia, neonatal tremor, neonatal agitation, and myoclonus, and there have been reports of convulsions, apnea, respiratory depression, and bradycardia. 5.10 Use in Opioid Naïve Patients There have been reported deaths of opioid naïve individuals who received a 2 mg dose of buprenorphine as a sublingual tablet for analgesia. SUBOXONE sublingual film is not appropriate as an analgesic. 5.11 Use in Patients With Impaired Hepatic Function Buprenorphine/naloxone products are not recommended in patients with severe hepatic impairment and may not be appropriate for patients with moderate hepatic impairment. Because hepatic impairment results in a reduced clearance of naloxone to a much greater extent than buprenorphine, the doses of buprenorphine and naloxone in this fixed-dose combination product cannot be individually titrated. Therefore, patients with severe hepatic impairment will be exposed to substantially higher levels of naloxone than patients with normal hepatic function. This may result in an increased risk of precipitated withdrawal at the beginning of treatment (induction) and may interfere with buprenorphine's efficacy throughout treatment. In patients with moderate hepatic impairment, the differential reduction of naloxone clearance compared to buprenorphine clearance is not as great as in subjects with severe hepatic impairment. Therefore, buprenorphine/naloxone products are not recommended for initiation of treatment (induction) in patients with moderate hepatic impairment due to the increased risk of precipitated withdrawal. However, buprenorphine/naloxone products may be used with caution for maintenance treatment in patients with moderate hepatic impairment who have initiated treatment on a buprenorphine product without naloxone. However, patients should be carefully monitored and consideration given to the possibility of naloxone interfering with buprenorphine's efficacy [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6)]. 5.12 Impairment of Ability to Drive or Operate Machinery SUBOXONE sublingual film may impair the mental or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially dangerous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery, especially during treatment induction and dose adjustment. Patients should be cautioned about driving or operating hazardous machinery until they are reasonably certain that SUBOXONE sublingual film therapy does not adversely affect his or her ability to engage in such activities. 5.13 Orthostatic Hypotension Like other opioids, SUBOXONE sublingual film may produce orthostatic hypotension in ambulatory patients. 5.14 Elevation of Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure Buprenorphine, like other opioids, may elevate cerebrospinal fluid pressure and should be used with caution in patients with head injury, intracranial lesions, and other circumstances when cerebrospinal pressure may be increased. Buprenorphine can produce miosis and changes in the level of consciousness that may interfere with patient evaluation. 5.15 Elevation of Intracholedochal Pressure Buprenorphine has been shown to increase intracholedochal pressure, as do other opioids, and thus should be administered with caution to patients with dysfunction of the biliary tract. 5.16 Effects in Acute Abdominal Conditions As with other opioids, buprenorphine may obscure the diagnosis or clinical course of patients with acute abdominal conditions. 5.17 General Precautions SUBOXONE sublingual film should be administered with caution in debilitated patients and those with myxedema or hypothyroidism, adrenal cortical insufficiency (e.g., Addison's disease); CNS depression or coma; toxic psychoses; prostatic hypertrophy or urethral stricture; acute alcoholism; delirium tremens; or kyphoscoliosis.