Arm implant providing medication for Canadians addicted to opioids, Montreal firm training doctors

Canadians addicted to opioids may be eligible for an upper-arm implant that provides an ongoing low dose of medication for six months.

The procedure involves trained physicians inserting match-stick sized rods under the skin, with each containing the medication buprenorphine.

Health Canada approved the implant in April 2018, two years after it was granted approval in the United States.

A Montreal-based company that licensed it from a U-S firm is training doctors on how to insert match-stick sized rods under the skin.

Samira Sakhia, president of Knight Therapeutics, said the company is in the early launch phase of the implant, the cost of which the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health recommends should be reimbursed by provinces.

Doctor Seonaid Nolan, a clinical researcher with the B-C Centre on Substance, said the implant provides another treatment option alongside medications including Suboxone, which also contains buprenorphine.

Nolan said the main advantage of the implant is that people entrenched in illicit drug use don't have to remember to take a pill every day.

 

 

- With files from the Canadian Press