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TUESDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Implanted buprenorphine is an effective alternative for treatment of opioid dependency, resulting in fewer withdrawal symptoms and less treatment drop-out than placebo implants, according to research published in the Oct. 13 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Walter Ling, M.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a placebo-controlled trial of opioid-dependent patients; 108 were randomized to receive buprenorphine implants and 55 to receive placebo implants.
During weeks one through 16, the implant group had a significantly higher mean percentage of negative urine samples
for illicit opioids (40.4 percent versus 28.3 percent in the placebo group). The buprenorphine group was also more than twice as likely to continue in the study for the full 24 weeks and described significantly fewer withdrawal symptoms and lower cravings. Clinician global ratings of
severity of dependence and of
improvement were also better for those in the buprenorphine group than those in the group receiving placebo implants.
"The improved retention rate was
found in the current study despite the
buprenorphine implants resulting in
relatively low plasma concentrations of
buprenorphine," the authors write. "Given the known pharmacokinetics
of buprenorphine, the
steady state plasma concentration levels
are consistent with a constant buprenorphine
release of 1 to 1.3 mg/d
from 4 to 5 buprenorphine implants."
The study was funded by Titan Pharmaceuticals. One of the authors is a paid mentor in the Physician
Clinical Support System for training physicians in
buprenorphine, and several have financial ties to medical device and/or pharmaceutical companies, including Titan.
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