Opiod addiction treatable with arm implant

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.

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

Nolan says 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.

The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health has recommended provincial drug plans reimburse the implant's cost for patients who get counselling and have been stabilized on no more than eight milligrams of buprenorphine.