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FDA approves first monthly injection to treat opioid addiction

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Health officials approved a monthly injection to treat patients recovering from opioid addiction.

The drug, Sublocade, is the first monthly injectable form of buprenorphine, which is used to treat moderate to severe opioid use disorder in adult patients who are already on addiction medication, according to a press release. Patients using the monthly injection must have been on a stable dose of buprenorphine for a minimum of seven days.

An independent advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) supported the approval of Sublocade at a meeting held last month.

Until now, buprenorphine was approved to administer as an implant or as a tablet or a film that dissolves in the mouth. Sublocade provides a new treatment option for patients in recovery, which could reduce the burden of taking medication daily, the FDA said.

"Given the scale of the opioid crisis, with millions of Americans already affected, the FDA is committed to expanding access to treatments that can help people pursue lives of sobriety,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a press release. "Everyone who seeks treatment for opioid use disorder deserves the opportunity to be offered the treatment best suited to the needs of each individual patient, in combination with counseling and psychosocial support, as part of a comprehensive recovery plan."

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