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Suboxone

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Suboxone

Suboxone

INDICATIONS

SUBOXONE sublingual film is indicated for maintenance treatment of opioid dependence and should be used as part of a complete treatment plan to include counseling and psychosocial support.

Under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) codified at 21 U.S.C. 823(g), prescription use of this product in the treatment of opioid dependence is limited to physicians who meet certain qualifying requirements, and who have notified the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) of their intent to prescribe this product for the treatment of opioid dependence and have been assigned a unique identification number that must be included on every prescription.

DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

SUBOXONE sublingual film is administered sublingually as a single daily dose. SUBOXONE sublingual film should be used in patients who have been initially inducted using SUBUTEX® (buprenorphine) sublingual tablets.

Maintenance

  • SUBOXONE sublingual film is indicated for maintenance treatment. The recommended target dosage of SUBOXONE sublingual film is 16 mg/4 mg buprenorphine/naloxone/day as a single daily dose.
  • The dosage of SUBOXONE sublingual film should be progressively adjusted in increments/decrements of 2 mg/0.5 mg or 4 mg/1 mg buprenorphine/naloxone to a level that holds the patient in treatment and suppresses opioid withdrawal signs and symptoms.
  • The maintenance dose of SUBOXONE sublingual film is generally in the range of 4 mg/1 mg buprenorphine/naloxone to 24 mg/6 mg buprenorphine/naloxone per day depending on the individual patient. Dosages higher than this have not been demonstrated to provide any clinical advantage.

Method Of Administration

Do not cut, chew, or swallow SUBOXONE sublingual film. Place a sublingual film under the tongue. If an additional sublingual film is necessary to achieve the prescribed dose, place an additional sublingual film sublingually on the opposite side from the first film. Place the sublingual film in a manner to minimize overlapping as much as possible. The sublingual film must be kept under the tongue until the film is completely dissolved.

SUBOXONE sublingual film should NOT be moved after placement.

Proper administration technique should be demonstrated to the patient.

Clinical Supervision

Treatment should be initiated with supervised administration, progressing to unsupervised administration as the patient's clinical stability permits. SUBOXONE sublingual film is subject to diversion and abuse. W hen determining the prescription quantity for unsupervised administration, consider the patient's level of stability, the security of his or her home situation, and other factors likely to affect the ability to manage supplies of take-home medication.

Ideally patients should be seen at reasonable intervals (e.g., at least weekly during the first month of treatment) based upon the individual circumstances of the patient. Medication should be prescribed in consideration of the frequency of visits. Provision of multiple refills is not advised early in treatment or without appropriate patient follow-up visits. Periodic assessment is necessary to determine compliance with the dosing regimen, effectiveness of the treatment plan, and overall patient progress.

Once a stable dosage has been achieved and patient assessment (e.g., urine drug screening) does not indicate illicit drug use, less frequent follow-up visits may be appropriate. A once-monthly visit schedule may be reasonable for patients on a stable dosage of medication who are making progress toward their treatment objectives. Continuation or modification of pharmacotherapy should be based on the physician's evaluation of treatment outcomes and objectives such as:

  1. Absence of medication toxicity.
  2. Absence of medical or behavioral adverse effects.
  3. Responsible handling of medications by the patient.
  4. Patient's compliance with all elements of the treatment plan (including recovery-oriented activities, psychotherapy, and/or other psychosocial modalities).
  5. Abstinence from illicit drug use (including problematic alcohol and/or benzodiazepine use).

If treatment goals are not being achieved, the physician should re-evaluate the appropriateness of continuing the current treatment.

Unstable Patients

Physicians will need to decide when they cannot appropriately provide further management for particular patients. For example, some patients may be abusing or dependent on various drugs, or unresponsive to psychosocial intervention such that the physician does not feel that he/she has the expertise to manage the patient. In such cases, the physician may want to assess whether to refer the patient to a specialist or more intensive behavioral treatment environment. Decisions should be based on a treatment plan established and agreed upon with the patient at the beginning of treatment.

Patients who continue to misuse, abuse, or divert buprenorphine products or other opioids should be provided with, or referred to, more intensive and structured treatment.

Stopping Treatment

The decision to discontinue therapy with SUBOXONE sublingual film after a period of maintenance should be made as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Both gradual and abrupt discontinuation of buprenorphine has been used, but the data are insufficient to determine the best method of dose taper at the end of treatment.

Switching Between SUBOXONE Sublingual Tablets And SUBOXONE Sublingual Film

Patients being switched between SUBOXONE sublingual tablets and SUBOXONE sublingual film should be started on the same dosage as the previously administered product. However, dosage adjustments may be necessary when switching between products. Not all strengths and combinations of the SUBOXONE sublingual films are bioequivalent to the SUBOXONE sublingual tablets as observed in pharmacokinetic studies [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Therefore, systemic exposures of buprenorphine and naloxone may be different when patients are switched from tablets to strips or vice-versa. Patients should be monitored for symptoms related to over-dosing or under-dosing.

Switching Between SUBOXONE Sublingual Film Strengths

As indicated in Table 1, the sizes and the compositions of the four units of SUBOXONE sublingual films, i.e., 2 mg/0.5 mg, 4 mg/2 mg, 8 mg/2 mg and the 12 mg/3 mg units, are different from one another. If patients switch between various combinations of lower and higher strength units of SUBOXONE sublingual films to obtain the same total dose, (e.g., from three 4 mg/1 mg units to a single 12 mg/3 mg unit, or vice-versa), systemic exposures of buprenorphine and naloxone may be different and patients should be monitored for over-dosing or under-dosing. For this reason, pharmacist should not substitute one or more film strengths for another without approval of the prescriber.

Table 1: Comparison of available Suboxone film strengths by dimensions and drug concentrations.

Suboxone film unit strength (buprenorphine/ naloxone) Suboxone film unit dimensions Buprenorphine Concentration % (w/w) Naloxone Concentration % (w/w)
2 mg/0.5 mg 22.0 mm x 12.8 mm 5.4 1.53
4 mg/1 mg (2 times the length of the 2 mg/0.5 mg unit) 22.0 mm x 25.6 mm 5.4 1.53
8 mg/2 mg 22.0 mm x 12.8 mm 17.2 4.88
12 mg/3 mg (1.5 times the length of the 8 mg/2 mg unit) 22 mm X 19.2 mm 17.2 4.88

HOW SUPPLIED

Dosage Forms And Strengths

SUBOXONE sublingual film is supplied as an orange rectangular sublingual film with a white printed logo in four dosage strengths:

  • buprenorphine/naloxone 2 mg/0.5 mg,
  • buprenorphine/naloxone 4 mg/1 mg,
  • buprenorphine/naloxone 8 mg/2 mg, and
  • buprenorphine/naloxone 12 mg/3 mg

Storage And Handling

SUBOXONE sublingual film is supplied as an orange rectangular sublingual film with a white printed logo in child-resistant polyester/foil laminated pouches:

NDC 12496-1202-3 (buprenorphine/naloxone 2 mg/0.5 mg/film; content expressed in terms of free base) -30 films per carton

NDC 12496-1204-3 (buprenorphine/naloxone 4 mg/1 mg/film; content expressed in terms of free base) 30 films per carton

NDC 12496-1208-3 (buprenorphine/naloxone 8 mg/2 mg/film; content expressed in terms of free base) 30 films per carton

NDC 12496-1212-3 (buprenorphine/naloxone 12 mg/3 mg/film; content expressed in terms of free base) -30 films per carton

Store at 25°C (77°F), excursions permitted to 15-30°C (59-86°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature]

Patients should be advised to store buprenorphine-containing medications safely and out of sight and reach of children.

Manufactured for Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc., Richmond, VA 23235 by: MonoSol Rx, LLC, Warren, NJ 07059. Distributed by: Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. Richmond, VA 23235. Revised: Nov 2013

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/10/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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