In critical care, we’ve been treating patients with opioid use disorder for a long time. If they’re intubated for intoxication, we extubate them and send them home. If they’re septic with endocarditis, we treat their sepsis. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough. We’re treating the complications of opioid use disorder, without addressing the underlying problem.
Recently, medication-assisted therapy with buprenorphine has emerged as a powerful approach to treat opioid use disorder itself. Maximally aggressive care for these patients may require both treating their acute problem (e.g., respiratory failure, sepsis) and also treating their underlying opioid use disorder.
The IBCC chapter is located here.
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