robuphine is a buprenorphine implant that is placed under the skin to treat people who are trying to break free of opioid dependence. The implant delivers a continuous dose of buprenorphine for a six-month period, according to a press release by Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of the buprenorphine implant on May 26, 2016.
The buprenorphine implant is placed underneath the skin. However the surgical procedure done to insert and remove the drug, as well as its placement under the skin, has serious potential risks, including nerve damage, infections, embolism, accidental overdose and death. In addition, the implant contains buprenorphine, which is a Schedule III drug that is similar to other opioids and has the potential for abuse and dependence.
To reduce the serious risks associated with the use, insertion and removal of the implant, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program for drugs like Probuphine (buprenorphine) to reduce “the risks of accidental overdose, misuse and abuse” and other “complications of migration, protrusion, expulsion and nerve damage” associated with the insertion and removal of the drug.
Moving forward with training and implementation
In June 2016, Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that 10 patients had received treatment with the buprenorphine implant and more than 1,000 health care providers from 44 states throughout the country had completed training and were certified to administer the implant to patients. In the three weeks following the FDA’s approval of the implant Probuphine, Behshad Sheldon, CEO of Braeburn Pharmaceuticals reported that they had trained over 800 health care providers and are expected to train thousands more to be certified in the administration of the Probuphine implant to patients by the end of the year.
By the end of July, Titan Pharmaceuticals said that an additional 2,000 health care providers would have the opportunity to attend one of the training sessions that would be held in multiple cities throughout the United States. The 252 training sessions were held in 55 cities across the country. Titan Pharmaceuticals also expected this number to grow to more than 4,000 trained and certified providers for the buprenorphine implant by the end of the year.
The hope is that this implant will act as a step forward in helping to combat the already epidemic problem of opioid dependence in the United States.
Not everyone can obtain a buprenorphine implant to help them with their opioid addiction. For those who need a different type of treatment, we are here to help.
As a leading provider of addiction and mental health treatment, Sovereign Health of California offers individualized treatment programs for individuals who have substance use disorders as well as mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders. For more information about the treatment of patients who have opioid use disorders at Sovereign Health of California, please contact our 24/7 helpline.
About the author
Amanda Habermann is a staff writer for Sovereign Health. A graduate of California Lutheran University, she received her M.S. in clinical psychology with an emphasis in psychiatric rehabilitation. Her master’s thesis was written on “The effect of parental codependency on elementary school children’s social and emotional development,” and her research has been accepted for poster presentations at the Western Psychological Association. She brings to the team her extensive clinical background and skills in psychological testing and assessment, clinical diagnosis, research and treatment, and recovery techniques for patients with mental illness. She is a passionate researcher and enjoys staying up-to-date on the newest topics in the field. For more information and other inquiries about this article, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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