First insights into community pharmacy based buprenorphine-naloxone dispensing in Finland

Hanna Uosukainen, Simon Bell, Kirsti Laitinen, Ulrich Tacke, Jenni Ilomäki, Juha H O Turunen

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Background: Finnish community pharmacies have been permitted to dispense buprenorphine-naloxone since February 2008. This study explored the dispensing practices, service experiences, problems encountered and opportunities for future development. 

Methods: In August 2011, a questionnaire was mailed to all Finnish community pharmacies dispensing buprenorphine-naloxone ( n=. 69). 

Results: Sixty-four pharmacies responded (93%), of which 54 had dispensed buprenorphine-naloxone to 155 clients since 2008. Forty-eight pharmacies had 108 current clients (10% of all buprenorphine-naloxone clients in Finland). Overall satisfaction with buprenorphine-naloxone dispensing was high, with all respondents indicating dispensing had gone 'well' or 'very well'. Fourteen pharmacies (26%) had experienced one or more problems, predominately in relation timing or non-collection of doses. Problems were more common in pharmacies with more than one buprenorphine-naloxone client (odds ratio 1.39, 95% confidence interval 1.05-1.86). Most pharmacies ( n=. 43, 80%) identified opportunities for improvement, including the need for more education and financial remuneration. Forty-six pharmacies (85%) were willing to dispense buprenorphine-naloxone to more clients; however, 43 pharmacies (80%) perceived that supervision of buprenorphine-naloxone dosing is not a suitable task for pharmacists in Finland. 

Conclusion: Provision of buprenorphine-naloxone in Finnish community pharmacies has remained relatively small-scale. As experiences have been generally positive and problems rare, it may be possible to expand these services. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-497
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Buprenorphine-naloxone
  • Community pharmacy
  • Opioid substitution treatment

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