TORONTO, Nov. 3, 2011 /CNW/ - A new clinical guideline released by the
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health will help enable health care
practitioners to provide buprenorphine (combined with naloxone), the
most effective medication since methadone to treat the growing problem
of opioid addiction in Canada.
While Buprenorphine has been available in Canada since 2007, partly due
to the absence of clinical guidelines it has been underutilized,
particularly by the frontline caregivers in under-resourced and remote
communities who could use it most.
The evidence-based "Clinical Practice Guideline Buprenorphine/Naloxone
for Opioid Dependence" provides clinical recommendations for the
initiation, maintenance and discontinuation of buprenorphine/naloxone
maintenance treatment for people dependant on opioids in Ontario.
The guideline was developed by a multidisciplinary committee including
specialists in addiction medicine, family medicine and pharmacy from
CAMH, the University of Toronto, St. Joseph's Health Centre, the
Ontario College of Family Physicians, and the Northern Ontario School
"This guideline will help educate practitioners about improved patient
access to treatment for opioid dependence, and safe prescribing and
dispensing of buprenorphine/naloxone," said Dr. Peter Selby, Clinical
Director of CAMH's Addictions Program. "It will also help policy makers
understand the value of making this medication available to those
battling an addiction to illegal opioids or prescription medication."
Studies have demonstrated that buprenorphine leads to more effective
outcomes compared to detoxification alone, and, with the exception of
retention in treatment, appears to be equally effective as methadone.
Buprenorphine also has characteristics that appear to translate into
less overdose risk when compared to methadone.
"Population level data from France suggests that there was a positive
correlation between the use of prescribed buprenorphine in that country
and a big increase in access to treatment and reduction in overdose
deaths," said Dr. Curtis Handford, a staff physician in CAMH's
Addictions Program and the principal author of the new Clinical
Practice Guideline. "Our hope is that this drug will enable more opioid
dependent patients to access appropriate, effective, safe and timely
maintenance treatment for their illness, especially in more
Opioid addiction, particularly dependence on prescription
opioids—including OxyContin, Percocet/Percodan, Morphine, and
Dilaudid—is an increasing clinical and public health problem in
Canada. It has been estimated that only 25 per cent of Canadian
opioid-dependent patients are in methadone maintenance treatment;
particularly in certain provinces and in non-urban areas, access to
treatment is quite limited.
While methadone is still an effective option for the treatment of opioid
dependence, it is important that there are options for patients seeking
treatment. To access the Clinical Practice Guideline
"Buprenorphine/Naloxone for Opioid Dependence, please visit CAMH's
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest
mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the
world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental
health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy
development, prevention and health promotion to transform the lives of
people affected by mental health and addiction issues.
CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan
American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating
SOURCE Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
For further information:
Media contact: Michael Torres, CAMH Media Relations, 416-595-6015 or firstname.lastname@example.org.