Friday, August 9, 2013

Buprenorphine Implants May Be Treatment for Opioid Dependence, Study Finds

A study published in yesterday’s Addiction journal compared the effectiveness of buprenorphine implants (BI) with placebo implants (PI) and sublingual buprenorphine/naloxone tablets (BNX) in reducing drug use among opioid addicts. In the study, Richard Rosenthal, M.D., of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and colleagues randomized 287 individuals with opiate addiction into three groups—BI, PI, and BNX. Urine was screened for opioid and cocaine concentrations for six months to determine drug relapse. In addition, magnitude of withdrawal was assessed using the Opiate Withdrawal Scale. 

Results showed that 31.2% of urine samples from the BI group tested negative for opiates, compared with 13.4% in the placebo group. There was no significance difference among the BI and BNX subjects, the latter of whom tested 33.5% negative for opioids. Drug withdrawals, however, showed that BI recipients experienced less withdrawal symptoms than did the PI group, but more symptoms than BNX subjects.

Rosenthal told Psychiatric News that “many [opioid-dependent] patients have difficulty adhering to medication regimens, [thus] it is important that we have as many options to avoid relapse among patients with addiction.”

The study was funded by NIH and Titan Pharmaceuticals.

For more information on opioid and drug addiction, see Psychiatric News here. Also see American Psychiatric Publishing's Clinical Manual of Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment here

(image: Creatista/


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