A new app to help patients discontinue use of buprenorphine and prevent relapse is currently being developed through a collaboration between Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Brown University and Boston University.

Currently called “OffBup,” the app is focused on helping patients taper off buprenorphine through a number of features including a timeline of withdrawal symptoms that patients can expect to experience, and a tracking tool that allows patients to monitor their progress and get rewarded for hitting key milestones.

The app is currently funded by a two-year $232,361 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which was awarded last June to Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

The key people behind the development of OffBup are Dr. Michael Stein, department chair of health law, policy and management at Boston University’s School of Public Health, Ana Abrantes, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown and associate director of behavioral medicine and addictions research at Butler Hospital in Providence, and Emmanuel Agu, associate professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Earlier this year, the Obama Administration announced that it planned on raising the number of patients that some physicians can treat with buprenorphine to 275. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a new policy for 2017, which would allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine to up to 100 patients.

As of last month, there were more than… (continue reading)