Posted March 30, 2013 by janaburson
Last week, the FDA’s advisory committee voted to approve Titan Pharmaceutical’s Probuphine. This is an implantable form of buprenorphine, a drug more commonly known under the brand names of the sublingual forms Suboxone and Subutex.
Probuphine is a slender rod, as pictured above, containing buprenorphine that is released into the body over time. Probuphine is meant to be inserted a few days after the patient has stabilized on sublingual buprenorphine. Four of the Probuphine rods are inserted under the skin of the inner upper arm in a fan formation, just like birth control implants such as Norplant. Four rods contain 320mg of buprenorphine, released over six months.
Probuphine has been touted as the answer to this country’s problem with Suboxone and Subutex drug diversion. Even though studies show most people who buy Suboxone off the black market use it to stay out of withdrawal and not to get high, many officials are appalled at how the medication, intended to treat opioid addiction, seems to be a new favorite street drug. But implantable Probuphine, for obvious reasons, is highly unlikely to be diverted to anyone besides the patient for whom it was intended. With this implantable form of the medication, pediatric exposures would be practically non-existent.
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This is one of the Dr. I follow up.