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Buprenorphine for Opioid Dependence


June 2021

Buprenorphine is indicated for substitution treatment of opioid dependence in clinically stable adult patients. Opiod dependence is characterised by a strong desire or sense of compulsion to take opioids; difficulty in controlling use; a physiological withdrawal state when opioid use has ceased or been reduced; evidence of tolerance; progressive neglect of alternative pleasures and interests; and persistence with opioid use despite clear evidence of overtly harmful consequences. Buprenorphine is currenly administered orally or via prolonged release injection, however, evidence shows that buprenorphine implant provides improved compliance and convenience, reduced illicit opioid use and increased quality of life measures.

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means that it acts like an opioid but less powerfully. Buprenorphine can therefore be used in a controlled way to help prevent withdrawal symptoms and reduce the urge to misuse other opioids. If licensed, buprenorphine via the implant route will offer an additional treatment option for clinically stable adult patients with opioid dependence.

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