New Treatment Option For Opioid Addiction Gets Approval From The FDA

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Image Courtesy of Braeburn Pharmaceuticals

Image Courtesy of Braeburn Pharmaceuticals

Opioid addictions are hitting Oklahoma hard, but a new implantable device seeks to help make treatment and recovery for those who are addicted to prescription painkillers or heroin.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved an implantable version of the new medication, Probuphine, which is a first of its kind treatment for opioid addiction. When the four approximately match-stick size rods are implanted into the upper arm, they release a consistent amount of buprenorphine over a period of six months, which help prevent withdrawal symptoms or cravings.

Buprenorphine is currently used as a pill or film to help treat opioid withdrawal, but it can be dangerous to have around the home. Not only could the act of taking a pill trigger a person’s addiction, the drug is dangerous if children manage to get into it. They could also be potentially stolen or abused. The implant prevents these issues.

The FDA calls the new device an “innovative” treatment option which can provide more flexibility and stability to a person’s life during recovery.

“Opioid abuse and addiction have taken a devastating toll on American families. We must do everything we can to make new, innovative treatment options available that can help patients regain control over their lives,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “Today’s approval provides the first-ever implantable option to support patients’ efforts to maintain treatment as part of their overall recovery program.”

Critics argue that devices and medications like this may lead health practitioners to rely too strongly on medication to treat addiction. However, when combined with proper counseling and treatment for addiction, medication can be an important support option to prevent relapses.

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