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January 19, 2011

Buprenorphine Implants and Opioid Dependence—Reply

JAMA. 2011;305(3):253-255. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1991

In Reply: Dr Rastegar raises important considerations concerning the interpretation of the results of the study by Ling et al1 regarding the effectiveness of buprenorphine implants for the treatment of opioid dependence. First, concerning barriers to this approach, all new technologies require substantial testing to verify their effectiveness and how they are best used. In the case of buprenorphine implants, it will be critical to ensure that they can be safely and reliably used in clinical practice and that they provide effective plasma drug levels. As used in the study by Ling et al, the treatment went well beyond the implants themselves and included supplemental buprenorphine, specialized counseling in treatment centers, and close patient monitoring over time. Further research is needed to refine this approach and address barriers to its widespread implementation.

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