Australian study finds depot buprenorphine improves patients treatment experience

11 May 2021

The results from a multi-site Australian trial, investigating the effects of long-acting injectable ‘depot’ buprenorphine treatment in people experiencing opioid addiction, have today been released.

Patient and doctor looking happy

The study, led by ex-Turning Point addiction specialist Prof. Nicholas Lintzeris, published in JAMA Network Open and co-authored by Turning Point clinical researchers, found that study participants preferred weekly or monthly depot buprenorphine over daily sublingual buprenorphine, and that depot buprenorphine was associated with more positive patient-reported outcomes (including overall satisfaction with treatment, views on effectiveness and convenience of treatment, quality of life and physical health).

Until recently daily oral methadone or daily sublingual buprenorphine have been the only available medications that are successful in managing opioid craving and reducing opioid-related harms including overdose and death. In Australia over 53,000 people receive methadone or buprenorphine treatment each day, highlighting the significant burden of illness of opioid addiction nationally, and the need for accessible treatment options. 

Turning Point is pleased to have been involved in such a ground-breaking study, which has spotlighted the importance of patient preferences in treatment and demand for broad pharmacotherapy options, to support people experiencing opioid addiction. 

Depot buprenorphine is now available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in Australia, and anyone interested in this new treatment for opioid addiction can find out more by contacting Counselling Online, calling the National Drug and Alcohol support helpline on 1800 250 015 or visiting their general practitioner.