Probuphine Implant for Treating Opioid Dependency
What is Probuphine?
Probuphine is currently the only six-month treatment for adults with and opioid dependency. The procedure consists of inserting four implants into a patient’s arm. Each implant contains a medication called “buprenorphine”, which is used to treat certain adults who are dependent on opioid drugs. Probuphine is part of a complete treatment program that also includes counseling and behavioral therapy.
The Probuphine implants, placed in the arm give up to 6 months continuous, steady release of a low-dose buprenorphine – helping to prevent withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Serious complications may happen from insertion and removal of Probuphine. See Important Safety Information.
Because of the risk of complications of, migration, protrusion, expulsion and nerve injury with insertion and removal of PROBUPHINE, it is only available through a restricted program called the PROBUPHINE REMS Program.
The Insertion Procedure
Your doctor will explain the risks related to the insertion and removal of a Probuphine implant and can perform the procedure right there in the office.
During the insertion, patients lie on their backs with a bent arm resting next to their head. A doctor will clean and numb the insertion area on the inside of the upper arm. The 4 small flexible rods will be placed just under the skin through the same small incision. After the rods are in place, the doctor will gently feel for them to ensure they are placed in the arm correctly.
A small bandage will cover the incision and should remain in place for 3 to 5 days. A larger pressure bandage covering the full implant area should be worn for the first 24 hours.
The doctor will provide wound care instructions and advice including:
- First 24 hours — apply an ice pack to the insertion site for 40 minutes every 2 hours while awake to help reduce bruising and swelling and as needed.
- First 24 hours — avoid showers or swimming to keep the site dry.
- Avoid strenuous activities for the first week.
- Schedule a visit during the first week after insertion.
As a helpful tool, implant recipients are given a patient identification card with the date Probuphine was inserted and the date it is to be removed. As with all medications, it is important that other healthcare professionals know that you are being treated with Probuphine.
Removing the Implants
Probuphine is intended to remain in a patient’s arm for six months, but a doctor can remove it sooner if needed. After the 6-month period, if a person wishes to continue treatment with Probuphine, they should speak with their doctor. The doctor may replace it with a new Probuphine implants in the other arm for one additional 6-month treatment.
Recipients should not try to remove the Probuphine implant themselves. Patients could potentially go into opioid withdrawal and become sick because their system has become used to the medication. A doctor should always be consulted on the best way to stop Probuphine treatment.