Depot buprenorphine is a new long acting formulation of an existing opioid pharmacotherapy, buprenorphine.

There are two depot buprenorphine products at this time: Buvidal® and Sublocade®. Both are available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) under a s100 opioid dependence listing.

Clinical guidelines

Interim guidelines for depot buprenorphine were developed to provide a framework for clinical decision making by clinicians and consumers in a range of service settings involved in the delivery of treatment with long acting depot buprenorphine products.

For additional advice on selected topics not included in the above guidelines, please see the Depot buprenorphine clinical guideline addenda.

The guidelines should be read in conjunction with the NSW Clinical Guidelines: Treatment of Opioid Dependence.

Accessing Buvidal® and Sublocade®

From April 21 2020 Buvidal® and Sublocade® are permitted to be prescribed by all OTP accredited medical or nurse practitioners and non-accredited medical practitoners.

Non-accredited prescribers are permitted to induct and manage up to twenty (20) opioid dependent patients on buprenorphine medicines. This existing restriction in the NSW Clinical Guidelines: Treatment of Opioid Dependence 2018 on patient numbers for non-accredited medical practitioners now include patients on depot buprenorphine.

Non-accredited prescribers are urged to seek clinical advice on prescribing and case management of patients on depot buprenorphine from addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry specialists, their local health district drug and alcohol service, or the Drug and Alcohol Specialist Advisory Service (DASAS).

Prescribers of Buvidal® and Sublocade® will be able to access the medicine through either wholesaler direct delivery from Healthcare Logistics Australia (HCL), or through arrangement with a local pharmacy.

Consumer information

A consumer information sheet on depot buprenorphine including frequently asked questions is available at NSW Government's Alcohol and Other Drugs information website Your Room.

The NSW Users and AIDS Association (NUAA) has developed a Depot Buprenorphine Starters' Guide for consumers wanting more information on what to expect from treatment on depot buprenorphine.

Resources for clinicians

NSW Health factsheets are available for clinicians on patients being treated with depot buprenorphine.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has made available a free webinar: Introduction to Depot Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Dependent Patients. This webinar, presented by Professor Nick Lintzeris and Dr Hester Wilson, explains the clinical guidance, evidence base, pharmacology, and risks associated with depot buprenorphine, and how to implement it as an Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) for opioid dependency.

The NSW Drug and Alcohol Specialist Advisory Service (DASAS) is a free 24/7 service for health professionals to seek advice on clinical diagnosis and management of patients with alcohol and other drug use. DASAS clinicians will provide advice on clinical issues related to depot buprenorphine.

Phone DASAS on:

  • Sydney metropolitan: (02) 9361 8006
  • Regional and rural NSW: 1800 023 687 (this free call number is not free from mobile phones, except Telstra mobiles)
Page Updated: Wednesday 22 April 2020
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health