The objective of the study is to describe the clinical effect and safety of low-dose buprenorphine, a κ-opioid receptor antagonist, for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) in midlife and older adults.

Method: In an 8-week open-label study, buprenorphine was prescribed for 15 adults aged 50 years or older with TRD, diagnosed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, between June 2010 and June 2011. The titrated dose of buprenorphine ranged from 0.2–1.6 mg/d.

We assessed clinical change in depression, anxiety, sleep, positive and negative affect, and quality of life. The Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating scale (MADRS) served as the main outcome measure. Tolerability was assessed by documenting side effects and change in vital signs, weight, and cognitive function. Clinical response durability was assessed 8 weeks after discontinuation of buprenorphine.

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