Bupe Implants vs. Suboxone: Which One Is a Better Choice for Opiate Detox?

man depressed outpatientProbuphine: an implantable version of buprenorphine that provides ongoing detox assistance for up to six months. It’s a medication that offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Impossible to abuse
  • Can’t skip a dose
  • Impossible to sell on the black market
  • Protects children who might find the medication and overdose

Sounds like a great option for people hoping to overcome opiate addiction, right? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) didn’t think so, at least not in its current incarnation.

In order to address the agency’s concerns, researchers have started a new study that would compare the currently prescribed sublingual combo medication, Suboxone, which combines buprenorphine with naloxone, and the proposed drug, Probuphine. More than 190 participants will take part at 20 different locations across the US, each one randomly assigned either the implantable medication and a placebo sublingual tab or an implantable placebo and the sublingual tabs.

All participants are currently in recovery from opiate addiction and have been stabilized using Suboxone without relapse for many months. The study will last for six months, and during that time, 10 check-ins with participants will occur to determine whether or not they relapsed. The results between the two groups will be compared.

Frank Vocci, PhD, is co-principal investigator on the new study, as well as President of the Friends Research Institute and past President of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD). He says: “If Probuphine is superior to buprenorphine/naloxone, that’s fine, but we don’t want it to be more than 10 percent worse.”

Success of the implantable medication will be defined as any patient who has two or fewer negative drug tests of the 10. The study will also serve to help address one concern of the FDA, the correct dose for maximum efficacy. When this study is complete, future research may look into whether or not the implantable medication continues to be of benefit for multiple six-month periods back to back.

Additionally, the current limitation requiring doctors certified to prescribe buprenorphine to treat no more than 100 patients with the drug might be lifted if the new medication is approved. This can increase access to treatment for many patients who currently have a difficult time finding a doctor who can help them with the office-based treatment.

Is Suboxone Right for You?

If you are dependent upon heroin or opiate painkillers, sublingual tabs may be an effective detox choice for you. If not, there are other medications that may be a better choice, or you may opt for no medication at all. Contact us at Palm Beach Detox Center now to learn more about the options available to you in opiate detox. Call today.