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New Implant Could Help Treat Opiate Addiction

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New Implant Could Help Treat Opiate Addiction

The escalation of opioid addiction correlates to the ongoing search for safe and effective ways to curb drug abuse.  After multiple clinical trials, scientists at Titan Pharmaceuticals believe they have developed a new implant that could help curb cravings for opioid drugs.  According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), outcome studies of 163 people who were treated with Probuphine over a twenty-four week period, and another study involving 287 participants, confirmed this innovative treatment regimen as a new and effective intervention for opiate addiction. Probuphine is a subdermal implant that was introduced by Titan and its advisory team to help the millions of Americans who are currently battling addiction to opioids like prescription drugs and heroin.  This treatment process, according to experts, is the first long-acting subdermal buprenorphine implant for the maintenance treatment of opiate addiction.  

Treatment for Opiate Addiction and how it’s Administered 

The treatment process entails administering Buprenorphine to stabilized patients in daily doses of ≤8mg.  Scientists are of the opinion that this subcutaneous method of dispensing the drug is safer and more effective than oral administration, which typically occurs without medical supervision. The premise is that while orally administered Buprenorphine must be taken daily, with Probuphine, patients can receive a single six month dose of buprenorphine during a short visit to their doctor’s office.   This treatment regimen allows for a gradual release process that dispenses a steady dose of the drug slowly and safely into the blood stream.  This consistent process has been shown to reduce, and in some instances, prevent cravings for heroin or prescription pills, and ease withdrawal symptoms, which will ultimately reduce the duration of addiction and relapse rates.  

What it Does

Utilizing the ProNeura delivery system that is made up of a small, solid implant typically placed in the upper arm. The technology of ProNeura when paired with Probuphine will be able to:

  • Prevent the problematic tendency to miss doses
  • Reduce the abuse risks associated with dispensation of pills and tablets
  • Make it more convenient for patients to consistently receive treatment doses
  • Provide a safe and simple way to take Buprenorphine
  • Eliminate the craving caused by erratic consumption of treatment medication
  • Promote patient compliance and retention.
  • Expand treatment parameters

Probuphine also has the potential to replace or augment Methadone as a treatment regimen which is currently only available through specialized clinics.  Patients receiving Methadone receive their daily dose of Methadone by visiting these approved treatment facilities. Currently, Buprenorphine, which is considered a safer treatment option than Methadone, is only available from physicians with special certification to dispense this drug and who are limited to care for a maximum of 100 patients at a time.

Associated Risks 

There are also various levels of risk associated with the current use and distribution of Buprenorphine such as:

  1. Failure by patients to correctly adhere to use stipulations
  2. Missed dosages or irregular consumption
  3. Illegal selling of the drug
  4. Medication sharing
  5. Prevent accidental consumption of prescription pills by children.  According to a new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics the impact of Pediatric Pharmaceutical Poisoning is escalating. The number of American children that are accidentally poisoned by prescription drugs has been steadily increasing with 43% of those who were brought to emergency room after ingesting prescription drugs were placed in the intensive care unit.

According to government surveys, approximately 2.3 million Americans are addicted to opioids with more than 750,000 currently receiving medication for this condition. As such, most of these individuals would meet the criteria for this innovative treatment.  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, patients who receive assisted medication treatment for addiction are able to slash their risk of contracting the HIV virus and drug overdose death by at least 50%.   The Titan and Braeburn Advisory Committee has recommended the approval of Probuphine by the Food and Drug Administration.  This breakthrough treatment has the potential to significantly lower the opioid overdose death rate that has more than doubled since 1999 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The development, introduction and subsequent approval by the FDA of Probuphine has the potential to prevent addiction and save lives.  As such it would represent a major solution for millions of people suffering with opiate addiction.   If you or someone you love is addicted to prescription painkillers or heroin, call a drug rehab center for help. You can connect with caring addiction professionals who can help you find the appropriate treatment program. 

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