​Prescribing of Buvidal® depot buprenorphine

The TGA has advised that from 3 April 2020 the restricted access scheme applying to Buvidal® depot buprenorphine will be lifted. This means that prescription of this product will no longer be restricted to specialist prescribers and settings.
The Depot Buprenorphine Working Group met on 10 March to consider the TGA’s advice and how it should apply in NSW.  The Working Group agreed that there should be no additional restrictions on prescriptions of depot buprenorphine beyond those that already apply to the sublingual formulation of buprenorphine. 

Accredited Opioid Treatment Program prescribers

Any medical practitioner or nurse practitioner who is an accredited Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) prescriber may prescribe depot buprenorphine as part of their patient limit of 200.

Non-accredited prescribers

Medical practitioners who are not accredited OTP prescribers may manage up to 30 opioid agonist treatment patients, including: 
  • up to 20 patients treated with sublingual buprenorphine or buprenorphine-naloxone, or depot buprenorphine and
  •  up to 10 patients treated with methadone who have been inducted and referred by an accredited OTP prescriber.
The Ministry will be distributing information about this decision to accredited and non-accredited OTP prescribers, together with links to the (interim) NSW Clinical guidelines for use of depot buprenorphine (Buvidal® and Sublocade®) in the treatment of opioid dependence.  Non-accredited prescribers will also be provided with contact details for DASAS and advised to contact DASAS for specialist support and advice.

Distribution and supply of the depot buprenorphine

There are two ways to obtain the product:

Delivery from an S8 licensed pharmacy via a prescription for a named patient. 

  1. Arrangements should be made with the pharmacy before beginning to prescribe.
  2. Contact a local s8 licenced pharmacy to arrange ordering and delivery of the medicine to the health practitioner or their delegate. The pharmacy will need to have an account with Healthcare Logistics (HCL).
  3. Write the patient’s prescription for depot buprenorphine and transmit it via fax and by post to the pharmacy. As with other OTP prescriptions it should not be given to the patient. 
  4. The pharmacy will deliver the depot to the medical practice. Depot buprenorphine must never be dispensed to a patient.
  5. Pharmacy delivery of depot buprenorphine requires medical and nurse practitioners to maintain a drug register and secure storage for the medicine.
  6. Pharmacies are likely to charge a dispensing and delivery fee.

Direct delivery from HCL - Accredited prescribers only

  1. Before commencing to prescribe, email the pharmaceutical company at australia@camurus.com with confirmation of your approval to prescribe and then so it can facilitate the account setup for direct delivery with HCL.
  2. A medical or nurse practitioner, or their delegate, must place the order and take delivery of the medicine. A prescriber must maintain a drug register and secure storage. 
  3. This option is only available for accredited OTP medical and nurse practitioners. It is not a requirement to have direct delivery if you are an accredited prescriber, but it will reduce the medicine handling costs for the patient.
Orders for depot buprenorphine should be placed for immediate/imminent administration to a patient – within a day or two. The companies involved have indicated that they are able to arrange a delivery within 24 – 48 hours for most areas
Page Updated: Wednesday 18 March 2020
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health