A Study Comparing Oral Buprenorphine and Injectable Buprenorphine for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (VA-BRAVE)

  • End date
    Nov 4, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    VA Office of Research and Development
Updated on 17 June 2022


VA-BRAVE will determine whether a 28-day long-acting injectable sub-cutaneous (in the belly area) formulation of buprenorphine at a target dose of 300mg is superior in retaining Veterans in opioid treatment and in sustaining opioid abstinence compared to the daily sublingual (under the tongue) buprenorphine formulation at a target dose of 16-24 mg (standard of care). This is an open-label, randomized, controlled trial including 900 Veterans with opioid use disorder (OUD) recruited over 3 years and followed actively for 52 weeks. There are a number of secondary objectives that will be studied as well and include: comorbid substance use, both non-fatal and fatal opioid overdose, HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) testing results and risk behaviors, incarceration, quality of life, psychiatric symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, housing status, and cost-effectiveness.


CSP2014 is the first direct long-term comparison of monthly injectable versus daily SL buprenorphine. In addition to its impact on the care of Veterans, the results of VA-BRAVE will provide critical data to guide effective treatment of opioid use disorder throughout the United States.

The CSP2014 study population is Veterans aged 18 years diagnosed with moderate to severe opioid use disorder (OUD)by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)-5th edition criteria. Veterans must be entering a new episode of opioid use disorder care prior to study start.

There are two primary outcomes that address key Veterans Health Administration (VHA) clinical issues related to opioid use disorder treatment. The first is retention on protocol-directed medication treatment (sublingual or injectable sub-cutaneous buprenorphine). The second primary outcome is opioid abstinence using the systematic Timeline Followback method of self-report and corresponding urine toxicology screens.

VA-BRAVE includes a 52-week intervention and 52-week active assessment period, and up to a 10-year passive follow-up for the duration of the study. Participants are inducted on daily SL buprenorphine using SAMHSA guidelines and dosed upward for a target dose of 16-24 mg for 3 days (more than 3 days may be required if deemed clinically necessary; should not exceed 30 days). Once reaching the target dose, participants are randomized 1:1 and assigned to receive at each 28-day research visit either: 1) a 28-day take-home supply of SL buprenorphine, prescribed at the clinically determined dose, or 2) injectable sub-cutaneous buprenorphine administered in the clinic (target dose = 300mg; 100mg dose may be used for those who cannot tolerate 300mg). Participants also receive Medication Management intervention at these visits.

Study visits for all participants occur at Weeks 1, 2, 3 and 4 post-randomization, and biweekly thereafter through Week 52. Self-reported abstinence and urine toxicology screens are obtained at biweekly visits. Following one year of active follow-up, administrative data will be used to follow participants for up to 10 years for early enrollees and up to 7 years for late enrollees. The recruitment expectation is 15 new participants per study year per study site. There will be 20 participating VA Medical Center sites.

Condition Opioid Use Disorder
Treatment Sublingual buprenorphine with naloxone, Injectable subcutaneous buprenorphine
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04375033
SponsorVA Office of Research and Development
Last Modified on17 June 2022


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Inclusion Criteria

Has used opioids within 30 days prior to consent or within 30 days prior to entry into a supervised setting
e.g., opioid use within the 30 days prior to recent (<30 days) incarceration, entry into a detoxification facility, or entry into an inpatient hospital setting
Meets criteria for moderate to severe OUD based on the Mini-International
Neuropsychiatric Interview
Referred to/seeking treatment for OUD and willing to accept "partial-agonist-based" therapy

Exclusion Criteria

Is a Veteran less than 18 years of age
Has been taking a form of prescribed Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) continuously >30 days prior to time of consent
Has a history of significant adverse effects from buprenorphine and/or naloxone
Has experienced recent suicidal ideation that requires hospitalization
Is unwilling or unable to provide consent
Meets criteria for sedative hypnotic use disorder based on the MINI (Sedative Hypnotic Use Disorder)
Has pending felony charges
Is determined unsuitable for study participation based on the clinical judgement of the LSI or Co-I given results of a CIWA-Ar, physical exam, Liver function tests, kidney function tests, and CBC
Is determined unsuitable for study participation based on observed prolonged QTc interval on an electrocardiogram (EKG)
Has any other medical, psychiatric, behavioral, or logistical condition which, in the judgement of the LSI or Co-I, makes it unlikely the participant can participate in or complete the 52-week active phase of the study
Is actively participating in an interventional clinical trial for which a waiver of dual-enrollment with CSP#2014 has not been obtained
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