A new study finds patients taking the opioid use disorder treatment buprenorphine prefer the extended-release (ER) version over the immediate-release version.
The ER version is given as a weekly or monthly injection, while the immediate-release treatment is taken orally every day, according to a National Institutes of Health news release.
The study found the ER injection of buprenorphine produced generally more positive patient-reported outcomes, including overall patient satisfaction, effectiveness and convenience. The researchers did not find any significant differences in illicit opioid use or side effects between the two treatment groups.
In a commentary accompanying the study, leaders of the National Institute on Drug Abuse wrote that “the greater treatment satisfaction by patients receiving ER buprenorphine suggests that ER formulations might help to improve long-term retention and, as such, be a valuable tool to help combat the current opioid epidemic and reduce its associated mortality.”
They said that ER formulations may be particularly useful in settings where patients have difficulty accessing consistent care, such as justice settings, populations experiencing homelessness and in rural communities.