In the last 12 months we’ve seen increasing negative hype about buprenorphine which culminated in last year’s front page Sunday New York Times piece, “Addiction Treatment with a dark side”, and more recently The Christian Monitor’s article “ Drugs for treating heroin users: a new abuse problem in the making?“ Smallerpapers, bloggers, and social media continue to provide misinformation thus contributing to the confusion. Also disturbing, a growing number of journalists are content assigning equal credibility to a scientific consensus as to an anonymous individual....
FDA says no to safer, longer lasting, form of buprenorphine that cannot be lost, stolen, sold or accidentally ingested by children.
Imagine a form of buprenorphine which could not be lost stolen or sold, delivered a consistent daily dose (could not be overdosed or underdosed), ensured at least 6 months of medication compliance, had absolutely no risk of accidental pediatric exposure, and would still be effective at treating opioid addiction. Sounds like a miracle, or at least a major step forward, right? Not according to the FDA who earlier this year rejected such an advancement in treatment and for reasons largely unrelated to the medication’s lifesaving potential. Meanwhile, the CDC reports 45 people a day die from prescription opioid overdose.
A cost-cutting task force is considering a two-year limit on Medicaid coverage for buprenorphine treatment for addiction which would force many current, stable patients to taper off this lifesaving medication within 30 days. Maine’s proposal is especially disturbing when you consider these two very important news releases last month. First, the CDC reports prescription drug overdose deaths are on the rise, with opioid painkiller overdoses accounting for 40 deaths a day nationwide. Second, the largest study to date of Suboxone used for the treatment of prescription drug addiction produced positive results. The study clearly shows that when this effective treatment is discontinued, and thus no longer suppressing the symptoms of addiction, symptoms return placing patients at risk of death from overdose. This confirms that chronic treatment may be appropriate for the chronic condition of addiction. These results will not come as a surprise to medical professionals or patients involved with opioid addiction or buprenorphine treatment, but appear to not even be a consideration of Maine’s task force.....
Last week I attended the ASAM State of the Art in Addiction Medicine Conference in Washington and one of the speakers was Gil Kerlikowske director of the ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy). After his talk on the successes of the white house’s program, and the promise of the “2011 National drug control strategy” he was asked about elimination of the 30/100 patient limit plaguing buprenorphine providers, their patients and their loved ones. This was the only question of the conference met with spontaneous applause. Mr. Kerlikowske was caught by surprise and admitted he was completely uninformed about a limit, and gave no indication that he even knew anything about the legislation pertaining to buprenorphine. This is alarming in light of the new CDC reportshowing 40 people a day die from prescription opioid overdose, 15,000 a year (in 2008). Meanwhile, patients are being denied lifesaving treatment due to effective rationing of care through government imposed patient caps. A search of the ONDCP website shows ZERO results for a “Suboxone” or “Subutex” and only two mentions of “buprenorphine” which were only incidental mentions and not about buprenorphine.
- Manufacturer’s Copay card $50 toward out-of-pocket medication cost-
- Third party prescription discount cards –
- Buy your own drug test kits online -
- Marketing research opportunities –
- Insurance –
- Manufacturer’s free meds program –
- Partial prescription fills-
- Generics Available
- Clinical studies –
- Negotiate with the physician –
- Less frequent office visits -
- Lower dose –
- Referral fee –
- Methadone Clinics –
- Shop around-