FDA Approves New Monthly Injectable Buprenorphine

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Opioid Epidemic – FDA Approves New Monthly Injectable Buprenorphine

The scope of the opioid crisis in the United States has reached the level of a national emergency. In 2016, over 64,000 people overdosed and died as a result of substance abuse, many of those deaths coming from prescription opioid pain relievers. The government, private agencies and pharmaceutical companies are working hard to find a solution to the problem through new approaches. ┬áThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved a new version of a buprenorphine – a drug that has been successful in treatment patients for opioid addiction. This new injectable buprenorphine allows clinics and rehabs to administer a single injection a month to help ease patients off opioids, helping to reduce cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.

What is Buprenorphine?

The drug buprenorphine is an opioid addiction medication and it is often given to treat chronic or acute pain. It is usually given to patients in a physician’s office or as a prescription to be taken at home.

It differs from other opioid medications because of the fact that it is a partial opioid agonist. This allows it to be less addictive than other opioids and when abused and it doesn’t give as much of a euphoric feeling. Taking too much of the drug also won’t cause a greater reaction. It also has mild withdrawal symptoms as opposed to standard opioids. Buprenorphine and naloxone are sometimes given together in order to further decrease abuse risks.

Fifteen years ago, buprenorphine was first approved for use in a tablet form that was to be taken daily. In 2016, an implant version of the drug was approved for medical use. In 2017, the injectable buprenorphine version has been approved for medical use by the FDA.

Injectable Buprenorphine

The injectable buprenorphine medication could be a game changer, according to Dr. Andrew Kolodny – director at the Brandeis University’s opioid research division. He believes that it may become the first-line medication in the fight against opioid addiction and abuse in the United States.

The new version of buprenorphine was created by a London-based pharmaceutical company called Individor, and goes under the brand name Sublocade. The approval of the drug during a FDA voting sessions showed the support it has received with an 18-1 vote for approval of the brand Sublocade. The FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb stands firmly behind the expedited development of new medications that can assist with the opioid epidemic.

The two clinical studies conducted showed that of the 800 opioid addicts that were a part of the study, the group that received a monthly long acting buprenorphine injection reported less opioid use and passed more urine tests that the placebo group.

Once the long acting buprenorphine injection becomes available for use, the only way a person will be able to benefit from it is through healthcare settings, such as at a rehab center.

Is Sublocade a Cure for Opioid Addiction?

The new drug is not designed to cure opioid abuse and addiction by itself, like many of the other FDA-approved medications used for addiction. It is designed to be used in conjunction with research-based therapy and counseling in a treatment method known as medication-assisted therapy. The medication-assisted therapy method of treatment is the major driving force behind the FDA’s fight against the national opioid emergency. Buprenorphine and naloxone are now among the best medications for opioid addiction.

If you need to find help for a loved one or yourself for an opioid addiction, contact us at Better Addiction Care today at 1-800-429-7690 to locate the best rehab in your area.