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From The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
November 1, 2016

Buprenorphine Implants (Probuphine) for Opioid Dependence

JAMA. 2016;316(17):1820-1821. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.10899

The FDA has approved subdermal implants of the partial opioid agonist buprenorphine (Probuphine – Titan) for maintenance treatment of opioid dependence in patients stabilized on low to moderate doses of transmucosal buprenorphine. Probuphine was designed to provide continuous low levels of buprenorphine for 6 months and to safeguard against illicit use of the drug.

Methadone was the first successful treatment for opioid addiction; it can diminish the craving for opioids without causing euphoria or sedation, but it is itself a Schedule II controlled substance and can be dangerous in overdosage. Naltrexone is a long-acting opioid antagonist; it is effective in diminishing the euphoric effects of opioids, but it is much less effective than methadone in treating addiction because it does not abolish the craving for opioids.

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