Next up in the news is another story about Opioid addiction in the news recently. In a USA Today article I found, there is a new tool in the battle against addiction coming on the market for our patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is getting ready to approve a new drug implant that would help opioid addicts to combat their addiction. That is the recommendation of the FDA advisory committee on new drug products.

6-Month Drug Addiction Treatment Implant

Junkie with a needle in his handThe implant is called Probuphine and would provide a continuous release of buprenorphine over six months after implantation. Buprenorphine works to combat the withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction, helping the addicts to stop using their drugs like prescription painkillers or heroin.

The advantages of the new implants cited by the committee include the long-term drug delivery system, the lack of pills in the home that could be accidentally ingested by children, and the overall safety of the drug in general. The hope is that this will help with medication compliance issues where addicts forget to take their pills and then start using again.

Probuphine Implant Done in Doctor’s Office

The Probuphine implant would only necessitate a return visit to the prescribing doctor every six months for removal and re-implantation of a new six-month dose. The drug delivery implant can be inserted in a 15-minute procedure and removal and re-implantation takes about 20 minutes.

Doctors can either prescribe the drug and refer patients to a specialist trained to perform the implantation or seek special training to do the procedure themselves. Either way, this is a potential game-changer for those patients who are struggling with opioid addiction and I will follow-up as this drug delivery system begins to be used in the patient population once it is finally approved by the FDA following this committee recommendation. Stay tuned here to the Nursing Show for more to come.

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Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Antidepressants and Pregnancy and Episode 381.

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