A ‘Cheeky’ Solution to the Epidemic of Opiate Addiction

Woman suffering from a toothache

(DGIwire) — Addiction to painkillers, both prescription and recreational, has reached epidemic proportions. According to a recent article in TIME magazine, the city of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against five different pharmaceutical companies, alleging that they deceptively marketed opioid painkillers such as Percocet and OxyContin for chronic pain management, even though the companies knew the drugs were ineffective at treating chronic pain and carried a high risk of addiction. The article detailed how these deceptive marketing practices have caused health problems in Chicago in recent years, reporting that opioid misuse resulted in more than 1,000 emergency room visits in Chicago in 2009 alone.

These astronomical numbers are not unique to Chicago. According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly two million people are dependent on prescription opioids. Prescription opioid addiction is also a complex, multifaceted socioeconomic problem. A recent analysis from JAMA Psychiatry showed that prescription drug abuse has become a gateway for heroin use. What was once a problem mainly among urban youth has now become increasingly epidemic among older suburbanites.

While Chicago and other cities have made it their goal to work from the top down to solve opioid addiction, one company has decided to make it its mission to work on the ground floor, treating those who are currently struggling with dependency so that their downward spiral can be stopped before it’s too late.  BioDelivery Sciences (BDSI), a specialty pharmaceutical company based in Raleigh, NC, is dedicated to treating addiction while providing new methods for pain management. BDSI understands that drug addiction is a complicated medical problem requiring long-term treatment and care, and is focused on helping people living with addiction to regain control of their lives.

BDSI received approval of the New Drug Application (NDA) for BUNAVAIL™ (buprenorphine and naloxone) buccal film (CIII) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). BUNAVAIL is indicated for the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence and should be used as part of a complete treatment plan to include counseling and psychosocial support. BDSI expects to launch BUNAVAIL late in the third quarter of 2014.

BUNAVAIL was designed using BDSI’s advanced drug delivery technology, BioErodible MucoAdhesive (BEMA®), allowing for the efficient and convenient delivery of buprenorphine while potentially overcoming some of the administration challenges presented by the sublingual (under the tongue) dosage forms currently available. BUNAVAIL has twice the bioavailability (drug absorbed into the body) of buprenorphine compared to Suboxone, the market leader in this category. As a result of the improved absorption of buprenorphine with BUNAVAIL, which is the direct result of the BEMA technology, plasma concentrations of buprenorphine comparable to Suboxone can be achieved with half the dose, which may help to reduce the potential for misuse and diversion and potentially lessen the incidence of certain side effects.

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