In May of 2016, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever six-month buprenorphine injectable implant in the hopes of helping patients successfully recover from long-term opioid dependency. Since its introduction into the treatment landscape, more and more patients have been asking their doctors and treatment professionals if Probuphine is right for them. Like all other opioid maintenance drugs, such as naltrexone (Vivitrol) and methadone, Probuphine is not without its risks even though it offers the lowest-yet potential for diversion and abuse. Some of the more immediate effects of the drug include headache, nausea, toothache, constipation, depression, vomiting, back pain, mouth and throat pain.
More serious risks include dependency, withdrawal, overdose, allergic reaction and a serious decrease in blood pressure. It’s important to speak with an experienced and qualified specialist prior to engaging in Probuphine use. Prime candidates for the drug may be:
- Patients who are concerned about dependency to Suboxone or Subutex
- Patients taking 8 milligrams or less of buprenorphine per day
- Adult patients struggling with long-term opioid withdrawal symptoms
- Patients who have been less successful on other opioid maintenance medications
Probuphine treatment is not for everyone and it’s important to thoroughly discuss your options with your doctor or treatment provider prior to getting the implant
It’s also important to remember that Probuphine, or any other drug for that matter, is not meant to replace other elements of treatment like psychotherapy or group dynamics. Long-term medication-assisted treatment should take place as part of an overall treatment approach that includes medically supervised detox. Probuphine can also yield a variety of withdrawal symptoms which may mirror those of opioid withdrawal. These symptoms can range from moderate to severe and should be brought to the attention of your prescribing physician immediately.
Probuphine represents a significant step forward in the area of medication-assisted treatment; however, it’s important that patients use caution.