Opioid addiction treatment continues to grab headlines

An article in the latest issue of Guernica, a magazine of art and politics, details the plight of doctors prescribing buprenorphine, a medication for the treatment of opiate addiction.

Unlike methadone, buprenorphine was approved for use in a general office setting. A doctor can apply to get a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine and treat someone suffering with addiction. However, there are severe restrictions on the availability of the medication.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently proposed increasing the current patient limit to 200 from 100 for qualified physicians who prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction. Physicians must be trained and waivered for more than a year to prescribe buprenorphine.

Currently, buprenorphine is only available in tablet and film formulations that require self-administration by patients on a daily basis. Titan Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ:TTNP) Probuphine is the first long-acting, subdermal buprenorphine implant for the maintenance treatment of opioid addiction. The Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA recently voted in favor of approving Probuphine and the FDA has set a May 27 action date.

A copy of the Guernica article can be viewed here.