Probuphine Buprenorphine Implants
The Delray Center now offers Probuphine implants for the treatment for opioid dependence. Probuphine is the first and only Buprenorphine implant that lasts 6-months. Probuphine provides a consistent release of Buprenorphine into the bloodstream that is equivalent to 8mg a day of the sublingual formulation. This allows for a steady suppression of opioid withdrawal and cravings without worrying about when the next dose is due. The implant method also eliminates any issues regarding potential non-compliance with or diversion of Buprenorphine. There is no practical way to remove the implant and misuse it. Once a patient has reached at least 3 months of abstinence from illicit drugs and is stable on 8mg a day of buprenorphine, they are a candidate for Probuphine.
Probuphine consists of 4 small rod shaped implants that are placed under the skin on the inside of the arm below the biceps. Each rod is approximately 1 inch long. The rods cannot be manipulated in any way inside the body to cause them to release Buprenorphine any faster than intended. Once placed, the rods will remain in place for 6 months, after which they are removed. Once removed, a new set of rods may be implanted in the other arm if continued treatment is desired. Insertion and removal both require a small incision as part of a minor surgical procedure done under local anesthesia. Insertion and removal of Probuphine can be performed only by a REMS-Certified physician. Dr. Rodriguez is a REMS-Certified physician.
Buprenorphine is the opioid receptor partial agonist-antagonist medication that is frequently used to treat opioid dependence. The common sublingual formulations are Suboxone and Subutex. Suboxone and Subutex have proven to be very effective in treating opiate dependence but always had the risk of either not being taken by the patient or diverted and sold to buy drugs. Probuphine eliminates this risk. Implant technology, which has been used in other medical treatments for a number of years, has been combined with Buprenorphine to create Probuphine.
Probuphine Frequently Asked Questions
1) How effective is Probuphine?
In a 6-month clinical study among patients who were treated with Probuphine:
• (75.8%) 3 out of 4 patients remained opiate free.
• (82.1%) of patients with Probuphine did not need supplemental sublingual buprenorphine.
• Probuphine patients continued their usual support meeting and therapy visits throughout the 6-month study as part of their relapse prevention treatment plan
2) What does inserting Probuphine entail?
• The Probuphine implant consists of 4 soft, flexible rods, that are 26mm (approximately 1 inch) in length each.
• The Probuphine rods are placed just under the skin on the inside of the upper arm, just below the biceps.
• Probuphine is inserted with a minor surgical procedure in a REMS-certified physician’s office. The procedure requires a 3mm incision and usually takes less than 30 minutes. The insertion procedure incision is closed using steri-strips and does not require any suturing.
3) What does removing Probuphine entail?
• The Probuphine implant is removed after 6 months. A new implant can be inserted in the other arm on the same day that the expiring implant is removed.
• The expiring Probuphine rods are located through palpation just under the skin on the inside of the upper arm, just below the biceps. In the event the implants cannot be located through palpation, the location can be found with an ultrasound or MRI.
• Probuphine is removed with a minor surgical procedure in a REMS-certified physician’s office. The procedure requires a 7-10mm incision and usually takes less than 45 minutes. The removal procedure incision is closed using 2 to 3 stitches.
4) What precautions must be taken with Probuphine?
• Never try to remove the Probuphine implant on your own. Removal of Probuphine without using the proper sterile technique can lead to infection. Opioid withdrawal will also develop after the Probuphine implant is removed, if it is not replaced with a new implant.
• Drinking alcohol with a Probuphine implant can lead to drowsiness , slowed reaction time, slowed breathing, fainting, and possibly death.
• Until you are familiar with how Probuphine affects you, do not operate heavy machinery, drive a car, or perform any other dangerous activities.
If you have more questions about Probuphine implants for the treatment for opioid dependence, please contact our office.