Urinary excretion of buprenorphine, norbuprenorphine, buprenorphine-glucuronide, and norbuprenorphine-glucuronide in pregnant women receiving buprenorphine maintenance treatment
Background: Buprenorphine (BUP) is under investigation as a medication therapy for opioid-dependent pregnant women. We investigated BUP and metabolite disposition in urine from women maintained on BUP during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and postpartum.
Methods: We measured BUP, norbuprenorphine (NBUP), buprenorphine glucuronide (BUP-Gluc), and NBUP-Gluc concentrations in 515 urine specimens collected thrice weekly from 9 women during pregnancy and postpartum. Specimens were analyzed using a fully validated liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry method with limits of quantification of 5 µg/L for BUP and BUP-Gluc and 25 µg/L for NBUP and its conjugated metabolite. We examined ratios of metabolites across trimesters and postpartum to identify possible changes in metabolism during pregnancy.
Results: NBUP-Gluc was the primary metabolite identified in urine and exceeded BUP-Gluc concentrations in 99% of specimens. Whereas BUP-Gluc was identified in more specimens than NBUP, NBUP exceeded BUP-Gluc concentrations in 77.9% of specimens that contained both analytes. Among all participants, the mean BUP-Gluc:NBUP-Gluc ratio was significantly higher in the second trimester compared to the third trimester, and there were significant intrasubject differences between trimesters in 71% of participants. In 3 women, the percent daily dose excreted was higher during pregnancy than postpregnancy, consistent with other data indicating increased renal elimination of drugs during pregnancy.
Conclusions: These data are the first to evaluate urinary disposition of BUP and metabolites in a cohort of pregnant women. Variable BUP excretion during pregnancy may indicate metabolic changes requiring dose adjustment during later stages of gestation. .