Implant for Opiate Addicts Sees Mixed Reviews
The Probuphine implant was approved by the FDA in May 2016 and is now being used by patients in Vermont who have mixed feelings about its efficacy and usage.
The implant is inserted into a patient’s upper arm and slowly releases small doses of buprenorphine (also known as Suboxone) over the course of six months. Benefits of the implant include the fact that it can’t be “lost, traded or accidentally ingested by a child”; the same can’t be said for buprenorphine pills or dissolving strips (Burch, 2016).
In Vermont, due to the facts that the drug is not covered by Medicaid and treatment centers don’t offer it yet, Probuphine isn’t available to a large number of patients. Some patients told Vermont’s Seven Days newspaper they were hesitant to try it, while others mentioned that they only got relief from methadone. In addition, “the FDA approved Probuphine specifically for patients who are already stable on low doses of buprenorphine and in an established treatment program” (Burch, 2016).
Probuphine costs $5,000 for a six-month dose, which is significantly more expensive than burprenorphine in pill or dissolving strip forms.
Burch, K. (2016). Opiate addiction implant received mixed reactions in Vermont. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/opiate-addiction-implant-receives-mixed-reactions-vermont