FDA approves new drug to treat opioid addiction

FDA approves monthly injection to deal with opioid use disorder

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

MIAMI – Amid the deadly drug epidemic, The Food and Drug Administration approved a new form of a widely used drug to treat opioid addiction Thursday, after a panel voted 18 to 1 to recommend it in October. 

Indivior, a United Kingdom-based pharmaceutical company, gained the approval for Sublocade, a long-acting monthly abdominal injection of buprenorphine, an opioid agonist.  

Studies haven't shown whether the $1,580 abdominal injection has advantages over Suboxone, the currently used daily medication, which costs about $100 a month and is sold on the black market in South Florida.  

There remains a debate among addiction experts about whether or not drug-assisted treatments are more effective than the medically supervised detox. Most experts agree both should be combined with abstinence programs that include counseling and psychological support. 

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner, has been proactively making addiction treatments available. 

Last year, the FDA also approved an implantable pellet meant to release buprenorphine for about six months. The FDA also recently approved the NSS-2 Bridge, a small battery-powered device placed behind the ear to emit electrical pulses meant to provide relief from withdrawal symptoms. 


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