Monthly and weekly injectable buprenorphine permitted as treatment in Scotland

The efficacy of weekly and monthly injectable buprenorphine treatment for people experiencing an opioid problem has been accepted by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).

The SMC – the national source of advice on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of all new medicines for NHS Scotlandhas accepted Buvidal (buprenorphine prolonged-release solution for subcutaneous injection) for restricted use by NHS Scotland for the treatment of opioid dependence within a framework of medical, social and psychological treatment, in adults and adolescents aged 16 years or over.

Buvidal injections, administered weekly or monthly, were approved by the European Commission in November 2018 based on safety and efficacy data from seven clinical studies.

Last year in Scotland there were 1,187 deaths from drug overdoses, representing a 27% increase on the previous year and the highest since records began in 1996. The majority of these deaths (86%) resulted from opioid overdose.

According to the producers, Camurus, injectable buprenorphine has the potential to contribute to the reduction of opioid overdoses compared to current standard treatment, due to prolonged release at more stable levels, and a rapid and sustained blockage effect against other opioids.