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Volume 475: debated on Thursday 15 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to extend the availability of suboxone in the treatment of drug addicts. (205809)

Suboxone is the brand name for a preparation of buprenorphine and naloxone, which is used as a substitution therapy for patients dependent on opioids.

Suboxone is available for use on the national health service. The decision to use Suboxone is a clinical one and is taken following consultation with the patient about their clinical needs and priorities. Advice on prescribing of Suboxone is included within the joint Department of Health and National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse publication, “Drug Misuse and Dependence: UK Guidelines on Clinical Management”, published in September 2007.

Due to the additional ingredient of naloxone in Suboxone the Department received a number of inquiries about whether the instalment dispensing regulations in place for buprenorphine and certain other medicines applied to Suboxone. In August 2007 the Department issued advice confirming that the prescribing of Suboxone for instalment dispensing by pharmacists is provided for under General Medical Services regulations.