For the battle to fight opioid addiction and the so-called opioid use disorder (OUD), the FDA has given patients and practitioners another tool. This once-a-month injection is indicated for OUD for patients on a stable dose of buprenorphine for at least 7 days. Previous treatments with this drug required daily doses of orally administered products like films or tablets, except for a six-month implant product first approved in May 2016.
The FDA announcement (here) establishes the second long term use product to assist in the treatment protocol for patients suffering and struggling with addiction.
As we have noted in previous blogs, treatment and proper enforcement of prescribing and distribution of opioids, are likely better alternatives than preventing access to opioids for patients suffering from intractable pain. Yesterday, Inside Health Policy (citing a Cato Institute report) suggested that abuse-deterrent formulation may be doing more harm than good (here), by pushing drug abusers towards fentanyl and heroin. The debate continues, but the end game is still a bit fuzzy and lacks clarity.