Buspirone for Opioid Tapering

    Not Recruiting
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Johns Hopkins University
Updated on 6 July 2022
opioid withdrawal


This is a pilot study to collect preliminary data to support a grant application. The goal of the study is to evaluate whether the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved and generically-available medication buspirone reduces symptoms of opioid withdrawal among patients undergoing a clinically-indicated and supervised taper from their opioid pain medications. This is premised on strong preclinical scientific support but has not yet be well-examined in humans.


Buspirone (Buspar) has shown initial efficacy in reducing symptoms of opioid withdrawal in animal studies and in human patients undergoing a methadone taper. Buspirone may have pharmacologic activity in specific neurotransmitter systems that preclinical evidence suggests may be implicated in the manifestation of opioid withdrawal symptoms. Administration of buspirone during an opioid taper may improve outcomes relative to placebo. The goal of this study is to collect preliminary feasibility and efficacy data from a sample of patients undergoing clinically-indicated opioid tapering. Participant enrollment will occur at the beginning of their residential stay on the Pain Treatment Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive buspirone (15 milligrams, three times daily, for daily dose of 45 milligrams) or placebo. Daily assessments for withdrawal and requests for additional symptomatic medications will be evaluated as evidence of initial efficacy. Feasibility measures include willingness to participate and study retention.

Condition Opioid Dependence, Dependency, Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome, Pain, Chronic, Pain, Chronic, Pain, Chronic
Treatment Placebo oral capsule, Buspirone oral capsule
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03521960
SponsorJohns Hopkins University
Last Modified on6 July 2022

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