New Generic Drug Could Improve Treatment for Opioid Dependence

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Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first generic versions of Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual film (medication that’s applied under the tongue and absorbed) for the treatment of opioid dependence. According to the FDA, this measure will help improve access to these medications for people who need them.

For many people addicted to opioids, treatment involves transitioning to medicines like buprenorphine. When combined with social, medical, and psychological therapies, medication-assisted treatments (MAT) are often the most effective approach for opioid dependence.

MAT is a comprehensive method of treating addiction that combines FDA-approved medications (currently methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone) with counseling and other behavioral therapies to treat patients with opioid use disorder. Buprenorphine reduces withdrawal symptoms and the desire to use opioids, without causing highs and lows, and decreases the pleasurable effects of other opioids.

Improving the accessibility of these medications is important: According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, medically-assisted treatments cut the risk of death from all causes in people with opioid use disorder in half. These medications can only be prescribed by Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA)-certified prescribers.

Sourced from: FDA