Painkiller and Heroin addiction kills tens of thousands of people in the nation every year. However, there's a new method to treat opioid dependency.
More than 100 medical professionals from across the valley have learned more about a new procedure that is an opioid treatment implant. The physicians have to complete the training before prescribing and administering the implant.
The medication, Buprenorphine has been around for years in the form of pills and dissolvable films. Buprenorphine reduces opioid withdrawals symptoms and cravings, but now, a fixed-dose of the same drug is offered in the form of an implant.
The FDA approved Probuphine in May. The device is made up of four one-inch tube-like devices that are surgically placed on the inside of the upper arm for six months.
It's all a short out-patient procedure that typically does not require stitches. While Probuphine is that latest method to treat opioid dependence, the implant is not for everyone.
"The drug is indicative for patients who are stable on 8 milligrams on Buprenorphine or less and clinical stability is sort of the eyes of the clinician. but the idea is that it's not a perfect treatment for people who are new entries into treatment because new patients may require adjustment of their dose and because it's a fixed dose, you wouldn't be able to adjust it very well," said Dr. Matthew Torrington, Probuphine master trainer.
Patients also have to be 18 and older for the procedure. The device costs almost $5,000, and some insurance companies cover it. Physicians around the country are already offering Probuphine.
The FDA says it should be part of a complete treatment that also includes counseling.
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