Injected, long-acting buprenorphine under investigation

Summary and Analysis…

This article describes a study of injected, long-acting buprenorphine, yet another attempt to minimize the problems associated with buprenorphine specifically and widely using opioids generally. While it is reported that the the study shows promise, problems are listed that communities, service providers and families should be aware of when undertaking MAT treatment including:

  • “Forgetting to take a daily dose. This could leave patients more vulnerable to cravings.”
  • “Deciding to stop the pills or films.” This may occur when the patient wants to got “on a bender” for a few days.
  • “Selling, trading or giving away films or pills.” This can have disastrous consequences as highlighted in the article.
  • “Children could accidentally take the drug if they find the pills or film.” The article cites the case of a “4-year-old Michigan boy found his uncle’s prescribed buprenorphine and swallowed a tablet, the uncle pleaded guilty for his role in the child’s accidental death.”

The article also notes that “Doctors are concerned about patients combining the medication with alcohol or other drugs. That can be deadly … even when mixed with anti-anxiety medicines such as alprazolam, the main ingredient in Xanax.”

Finally, the article highlights the marketing side of MAT proliferation when it identifies that two studies  “were funded by Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, in Princeton, New Jersey, which developed the drug treatment through a partnership with Camurus, based in Lund, Sweden.”

Excerpted from Courier Journal

From the article:

“A driver crashes into a bus, killing her 1-year-old daughter. She was in a haze from a sedative mixed with medicine meant to curb heroin cravings.

“A 4-year-old dies after taking his uncle’s pills.

“A patient in addiction treatment stops taking his medicine, then overdoses and dies.

“All of these deaths – blamed on the misuse of the same drug – could have been prevented. Now, two Kentucky researchers are testing a breakthrough treatment that injects addiction medicine straight into the patient’s body, reducing the chance of abuse.

“It’s being hailed as a potential ‘game changer.’

“The weekly or monthly injections – called CAM2038 – release buprenorphine over time. Doctors prescribe the narcotic (prounounced bew-preh-nor-feen) to wean patients off heroin or powerful opioid pain pills.

“It’s not a new drug. It’s a new, safer way to get the drug into the patient’s body.”