Comparison of Extended-Release Naltrexone with Buprenorphine-Naloxone

"This large multicentre, randomised, controlled, comparative effectiveness trial had five major findings. First, it was more difficult to start XR-NTX [Extended-release naltrexone] treatment than BUP-NX [sublingual buprenorphine-naloxone] treatment: 28% dropped out of treatment before XR-NTX induction versus only 6% before BUP-NX induction. Second, nearly all induction failures had early relapse. Third, in the intention-to-treat population of all patients who were randomly assigned, XR-NTX had lower relapse-free survival than BUP-NX, directly related to early induction failure. Fourth, for the per-protocol population, who successfully initiated medication, XR-NTX and BUP-NX were similarly effective. Finally, fatal overdose, non-fatal overdose, and other serious adverse events did not differ between treatment groups. Thus, if induction to either medication is successful, XR-NTX and BUP-NX were comparably effective and safe options. These findings afford providers, patients, and families a choice between agonist and antagonist therapies. The risk of XR-NTX induction failure should be considered, and agonist treatments for those individuals unable to complete detoxification should be encouraged."


Lee, J. D., Nunes, E. V., Novo, P., Bachrach, K., Bailey, G. L., et al. (2018). Comparative effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone versus buprenorphine-naloxone for opioid relapse prevention (X:BOT): a multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled trial. Lancet (London, England), 391(10118), 309–318.