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NIDA editorial supports use of buprenorphine implant for opioid use disorder


July 19, 2016

Probuphine Courtesy of Braeburn Pharmaceuticals

An editorial published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association by NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow and NIDA Deputy Director Dr. Wilson Compton discusses the importance of the new long-acting buprenorphine implant technology as an added tool in opioid addiction treatment. Buprenorphine is a medication for opioid dependence, originally approved as a tablet for daily use. The authors also summarize current prevention and treatment efforts to address the opioid overdose epidemic and heroin crisis occurring across the United States today.

Buprenorphine implant provides a unique tool to address the complex nature of opioid use disorder.

The authors specifically highlight research by Rosenthal and colleagues which reports the results of a randomized clinical trial comparing the buprenorphine six month subdermal implant to daily oral buprenorphine (the current standard of care). Results strongly indicate that the buprenorphine implant is effective in achieving long-term opioid abstinence for a subgroup of patients who have already achieved and sustained prolonged clinical stability on low-to-moderate doses of oral buprenorphine. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved the implant for up to one year of treatment for those patients. Future research is now needed to confirm whether the implant may even be more effective than oral buprenorphine by contributing to treatment adherence over time. This novel approach to delivering care could open up treatment to new, previously hard-to-reach populations, including those in the criminal justice system and in rural areas.  

Reference: "Improving Outcomes for Persons with Opioid Use Disorders: Buprenorphine Implants to Improve Adherence and Access to Care" by Wilson M. Compton, M.D., M.P.E, Deputy Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, published online on July 19, 2016 in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

For more information about Probuphine, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2016/05/fda-approves-six-month-implant-treatment-opioid-dependence.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245. Follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

NIDA Press Office

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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    NIDA. (2016, July 19). NIDA editorial supports use of buprenorphine implant for opioid use disorder. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2016/07/nida-editorial-supports-use-buprenorphine-implant-opioid-use-disorder

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