There is an epidemic of opioid abuse in the United States, and while heroin is one of the main culprits, other legal opioids such as tramadol are also being abused. This has challenged doctors and scientists to come up with solutions, and one of the most popular is using medications to fight against addiction. While methadone and buprenorphine are popular, the FDA has recently approved Probuphine, which is seen by many as being a game changer. Here are some reasons why.
What is Probuphine?
Probuphine is an implant of buprenorphine, which is long acting. It is sub dermal, which means that it fits just beneath the skin, and will function by transmitting a continual flow of low dosage buprenorphine over a 6 month period. It is considered by many to be innovative, and is the first product of its kind. This implant has received approval for people who are addicted to opioids and who have been medically treated. It is a powerful tool that will provide untold benefits to doctors and their patients.
Probuphine was developed as a response to the challenges that are inherent with most addiction medications. In the past it has been difficult for doctors to get their patients to adhere to a specific regimen, and the effectiveness of these medications is based on the patient taking it when required and visiting the clinic regularly. It is hard for many to do this while dealing with life’s other responsibilities, but a failure to do so can lead to stress and relapse. This new treatment is expected to make recovery a lot easier.
Although buprenorphine is extremely powerful, in the past it has only been used in products that must be administered daily. This implant was created as a result of merging buprenorphine with a polymer, which transmits the drug consistently into the body at low dosage levels, which removes the need for manual dosing daily. Buprenorphine, along with naltrexone and methadone are a class of drugs/treatments which are referred to as MAT or medication assisted treatments.
These treatments have been found to assist patients in a manner that makes it easier for them to recover from opioid abuse, while boosting social functioning and lowering the chance of overdose or contracting disease such as hepatitis or HIV. While these medications are cost effective and have a high rate of success, less than half of treatment programs today provide them. Of those that do, only about 34 percent of patients are given a prescription. This is why greater MAT usage is important, as it is highly effective in combating the opioid problem which has plagued America and other countries for the last decade.
Overall, it has been found that maintenance medications will make a major difference in helping patients recover. Probuphine is one of the newest additions to this fight, and organizations such as the NIDA has offered funding for early trials in order to demonstrate its efficacy.