October 4, 2016 – Barriers to Buprenorphine


Anchor lead: What are the barriers to the use of buprenorphine for opioid addiction? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Buprenorphine helps people kick the opioid habit, but it is a prescription drug that requires some work for a physician to use. That may be one reason it isn’t utilized as often as it could be, as shown in a recent research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, describes what’s required.

Strain: There’s a training to prescribe sublingual buprenorphine but that training is really pretty simple. A lot of the training is now done online, so I don’t think that that’s a major barrier for people to prescribe sublingual buprenorphine. The new form that’s been approved, the Probuphine, the insertable rods, will require training to put the rods in and take them out and that’s going to be a little more complicated, but I don’t think the training is a barrier.  :25

Strain says in order to use the rods, physicians must first stabilize a person on the oral medication, then make the switch. He hopes more physicians will be willing to learn to use these products to help stem the tide of national opioid abuse and overdose death.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.