Long-acting buprenorphine injectables: Opportunity to improve opioid use disorder treatment among rural populations

Michelle R. Lofwall, Laura C. Fanucchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The opioid epidemic continues with escalating overdose deaths further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, despite having efficacious medication treatments for opioid use disorder (MOUD). Most persons with OUD remain undiagnosed, without ever receiving MOUD, and even among those who initiate MOUD, retention is infrequently longer than 6 months (Williams et al., 2019). Treatment access remains particularly problematic in rural areas that often have few providers and limited resources (Ghertner, 2019). There are two new injectable long-acting buprenorphine (LAB) formulations recently approved in the United States and abroad (Lofwall et al., 2018; Walsh et al., 2017; Haight et al., 2019). They hold promise to improve treatment access and retention by decreasing risks of nonadherence, diversion and misuse and may be particularly attractive during a pandemic in order to minimize provider and pharmacy contacts (Roberts et al., 2020) and help improve access to care in rural areas. There are several ongoing evaluations of LAB injectables in large multi-site randomized clinical trials sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Veterans Administration Office of Research and Development in settings with special populations that exist in both urban and rural settings. Understanding the potential clinical benefits of LAB injectables along the care continuum, particularly for rural areas is essential to successful implementation in the complex healthcare system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106756
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Buprenorphine
  • Long-acting injectables
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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