Buprenorphine Wafer: A New Development

Buprenorphine Wafer: A New Development

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How is the wafer different from Suboxone Films?

While we already have multiple meds available for treating opioid addiction, there will soon be a new one. Currently, we have dissolving films, tablets, injections and implants. So, how is the buprenorphine wafer different?

It’s all about speed.

Unfortunately, misuse of addiction treatment medications used in MAT is a problem. Therefore, drug makers are working hard to find new ways to stop this abuse of treatment meds. A new and novel approach is the fast dissolving buprenorphine wafer. Instead of taking minutes, this new med may dissolve in less than a minute. It is possible that it will melt away even faster, maybe even just seconds.

How does this help?

In many clinics, patients take their Suboxone or Subutex while being observed. They put the meds under their tongue and wait. Unfortunately, some patients sneak these tablets or films out of their mouth to misuse later. It is possible that an opioid addict could try to inject these tablets. Because they were already in their mouth, this practice can lead to serious infections. One issue is that the patient has more opportunity to sneak the tablets out of their mouth when it takes longer for them to dissolve.

The fast dissolving buprenorphine wafer.

If the wafer can dissolve in just a few seconds, there is far less opportunity for the patient to divert the meds out of their mouth. The wafer will quickly dissolve and the meds safely in the patient’s system.

Are better alternatives available?

One possible solution that is already being used is the subcutaneous buprenorphine injection, also known as Sublocade. A patient who gets this shot cannot easily divert their medication. It may be a far superior solution. Yet, there are still many cases where sublingual meds are the best choice.

Are there any major problems with the buprenorphine wafer?

One serious issue is that Purdue Pharma will likely be manufacturing the wafer. Many people consider Purdue to have a large part of the responsibility in sparking the current opioid crisis. They may find it offensive that this company is now making addiction treatment meds. Nevertheless, we will have to wait and see if there is a significant advantage to this new drug over what is currently available.