In recent years, combating the rise in opioid dependency has become a national priority. Opioids are prescribed to treat pain – but with prolonged use, their pain-relieving effects can lessen, your pain may worsen, and your body can develop a dependency that is extremely difficult to overcome.
Fortunately, there is a treatment for adults with an opioid addiction called the Probuphine implant. This implant involves a procedure in which a doctor inserts four tiny implants, each containing the medication buprenorphine, into the patient’s upper arm.
These implants provide up to six months of continuous, steady release of the low-dose medication, which helps to prevent both cravings of opioids and withdrawal symptoms.
Since complications may occur from insertion and removal of the Probuphine implant, it is only available through the restricted Probuphine REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) Program. However, the patient’s doctor will explain the risks and can perform the procedure right in the physician’s office.
How Is Probuphine Implanted Under the Skin?
The insertion procedure consists of having the patient lie down on their back, with a bent arm resting next to their head, palm facing upward. The doctor then cleans and numbs the insertion area on the inside of the upper arm.
Next, four small, flexible rods are placed just under the skin through a small incision. Once the rods are inserted, the doctor checks to make sure they are placed in the arm correctly. A small bandage is then applied to cover the incision, and a larger pressure bandage is applied to cover the entire implant area.
The larger bandage must be worn for the first 24 hours, and the smaller bandage should remain in place for up to five days.
Is Any Maintenance Required?
Following the procedure, the doctor will provide the patient with wound care instructions and advice, which will likely include the following:
- During the first 24 hours, the patient should apply an ice pack to the insertion site for 40 minutes every two hours while awake. This will help to reduce any bruising or swelling.
- The patient should avoid showers or swimming during the first 24 hours to keep the site dry.
- The patient should avoid strenuous activities for at least the first week.
- The patient should schedule a follow-up visit during the first week after insertion.
In addition, the patient will receive an identification card with the date when the Probuphine implant was inserted, and the date when it is scheduled to be removed.
How Long Does Probuphine Last?
Although the Probuphine implant is intended to remain in the patient’s arm for six months, the doctor can remove it sooner if necessary. If a patient wants to continue treatment with Probuphine after the six-month period, the patient should consult with their doctor, who can replace it with a new implant in their other arm for an additional six-month treatment.
In any case, patients should not attempt to remove the Probuphine implant themselves, as they could possibly go into opioid withdrawal and become ill.
Who Can Help Me Overcome My Opioid Addiction?
The Probuphine implant is only part of a complete treatment program for opioid dependency. In addition to this treatment, counseling and behavioral therapy are needed to ensure a successful outcome. Don’t allow pain and/or opioid dependency dominate your life.
Using physical and behavioral therapy, along with advanced interventional procedures, the caring and trustworthy pain specialists at Balcones Pain Consultants utilize diagnostics and comprehensive care to devise customized treatment plans for their patients.
For more information on our services, call our office today at (512) 834-4141 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get your life back again.