FDA Approves Buprenorphine Injection for Opioid Use Disorder

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved extended-release injection buprenorphine (Brixadi, Braeburn Inc) for the treatment of moderate to severe opioid use disorder (OUD).

The medication comes in two formulations: a weekly and a monthly version. The weekly treatment is indicated in patient who have initiated treatment with a single dose of transmucosal buprenorphine or who are already being treated with the drug. The monthly version is for patients already receiving buprenorphine.

“Buprenorphine is an important treatment option for opioid use disorder. Today’s approval expands dosing options and provides people with opioid use disorder a greater opportunity to sustain long-term recovery,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, MD, in a release. “The FDA will continue to take the critical steps necessary to pursue efforts that advance evidence-based treatments for substance use disorders, which is a strategic priority under the FDA’s Overdose Prevention Framework,” Califf added.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that patients receiving medication for OUD have their risk for all-cause mortality cut by 50%.

In its release, the FDA said that it remains committed to increasing treatment options for OUD. Earlier this month, the agency issued a joint letter with SAMHSA to underscore the importance of counseling and other services as part of a comprehensive treatment plan the disorder. It also emphasized that receiving buprenorphine should not be contingent on participating in such services.

Brixadi is approved in both weekly and monthly subcutaneous injectable formulations at varying doses, including lower doses that may be appropriate for patients who do not tolerate higher doses of extended-release buprenorphine that are currently available.

The drug will be available through a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy program and administered only by healthcare providers in a healthcare setting.

The most common adverse reactions associated with the drug include injection-site pain, headache, constipation, nausea, injection-site erythema, injection-site pruritus, insomnia, and urinary tract infections. The FDA reports that such side effects occur in at least 5% of patients.

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