A recent development in the treatment of opioid dependence is the introduction of long-acting injectable (LAI) formulations of buprenorphine. Listed on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) in September 2019, LAI buprenorphine is administered via weekly or monthly subcutaneous injections, providing an alternative treatment option for opioid dependence that reduces the frequency of dosing visits and increases flexibility, compared to oral methadone and sublingual buprenorphine.
There have been reports of variation in LAI buprenorphine's ability to maintain adequate symptom control between monthly doses, however the average dosing interval (i.e., the number of days between doses) for LAI buprenorphine in observational or real-world settings, is currently unknown. Quantifying variation in dosing intervals, as observed in clinical practice, will help inform both the management of clients and the cost effectiveness of LAI buprenorphine as a treatment option for opioid dependence.
This report describes real-world dosing intervals for monthly LAI buprenorphine based on an analysis of deidentified observational data collected from three service providers across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia between October 2019 and July 2022.