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Camurus' weekly/monthly opioid dependence injection accepted in Scotland for NHS use

Published on 13/08/19 at 10:32am
Image Credit: US Air Force Valerie Monroy

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has announced its acceptance of Buvidal (buprenorphine prolonged-release solution for subcutaneous injection) from Swedish pharma and biotech firm Camurus, approving its use for patients on NHS Scotland for the treatment of opioid dependence.

The decision covers patients over the age of 16, administered weekly or monthly “within a framework of medical, social and psychological treatment”.

The injection was approved in wider Europe by the EMA back in November last year off the back of Phase 3 data which demonstrated that Buvidal “improved treatment outcomes compared to daily standard treatment with sublingual buprenorphine/naloxone”.

Scotland saw its highest number of overdose-related deaths in 2018 since records began, with a total of 1,187. This represents a 27% increase on the previous year, and 86% of this total relates specifically to opioid overdoses. There are around 30,000 patients currently in treatment in Scotland for opioid dependence.

“Today’s news is a significant step forward in a field with a wide range of patients with different situations and needs. A broadening of the treatment options is welcome as there is currently a limited range of effective treatments,” commented Professor Roy Robertson, Professor of Addictions at the University of Edinburgh. “Buvidal can contribute to improving adherence and reducing the burdens, stigma and risks associated with current daily treatments. Experience in clinical practice is, so far, limited but this intervention has potential to improve our ability to manage people with opiate dependency problems and could have an impact on the regrettable mortality.”

Dr Ayana Gibbs, Head of Medical Affairs Northern Europe at Camurus, also remarked: “We are pleased with the positive acceptance by the SMC acknowledging the economic case for Buvidal, and look forward to partnering with the treatment community to give patients in need access to the first long-acting treatment option for opioid dependence.”

Matt Fellows

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