Belbuca is a formula of buprenorphine designed to help people with chronic pain. Since it is a new medication, it is not completely covered by all insurance companies in the United States, but about 90 percent of them now offer some coverage for this prescription.
You can get it at your nearby pharmacy, and keep up to a 90-day supply of Belbuca in your home. It is a safer medication than full opioid agonists with a significantly lower risk of overdose and addiction.
What Is Belbuca?
As more medical researchers uncover the harms of full opioid agonists like oxycodone and hydrocodone for pain relief, more practitioners are turning to long-acting medications like buprenorphine.
Although buprenorphine gained popularity through Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) like Suboxone and Subutex, new formulas of buprenorphine are being prescribed to treat chronic pain. One of these is Belbuca.
Belbuca is a thin film that is applied inside the cheek, or taken buccally. People who take Belbuca typically do so twice per day, or about every 12 hours, for the best pain relief. This is similar to full opioid agonists like OxyContin, which is a highly addictive medicine that can relieve pain for 12 hours.
You should only take Belbuca as prescribed. If you receive this prescription for chronic pain relief, your insurance should cover at least most of the cost.
How Much Does Belbuca Cost?
Belbuca has been prescribed to over 250,000 people to help them manage chronic pain with a much lower risk of substance abuse. Where you live can impact whether or not your insurance covers Belbuca and how much you will pay for this medication.
The average national price for Belbuca, without insurance, is $411 for 60 film strips, each of which is about 75 mcg. This is an average of $6.85 per unit. Larger doses will cost more:
- 60 film strips at 150 mcg can cost $411
- 60 film strips of 300 mcg can cost $640
- 60 film strips of 450 mcg might cost $867
- 60 film strips at 600 mcg might cost $923
At two doses per day, a supply of 60 film strips should last for about 30 days, or one month.
- With insurance: In 2019, BioDelivery Sciences International, the pharmaceutical company that makes Belbuca, arranged deals with most US insurance companies. About 90 percent of American adults, or 165 million people, have access to coverage of this important prescription. Currently, Medicare Part D does not cover Belbuca.
Getting Belbuca Legally
Most insurance companies in the United States will currently cover Belbuca prescriptions, at least in part. However, not every private insurance company covers Belbuca, so you should ask your doctor if this medication is covered with your current health insurance.
Medicare does not cover Belbuca, although it does cover generic buprenorphine prescriptions.[5,6] Medicaid may cover Belbuca. Like private health insurance, this can depend on where you live in the country.
When you receive a prescription for Belbuca, you can get this medication at your local or hospital pharmacy. You may be able to use some pharmacy rewards, like those offered by CVS or Walgreens, when you purchase Belbuca.
You cannot get Belbuca over the counter or without a prescription. Doing so is drug diversion, which is illegal.
Financial Support to Get Belbuca
Belbuca’s manufacturers offer copay assistance for people who need this medication but cannot afford it, especially if their insurance does not cover the cost. You can apply for a Belbuca Copay Card, which:
- Allows you to pay nothing upfront for your first month and then up to $25 upfront for as long as one year.
- Gives savings of up to $100 per prescription for up to three prescriptions in the first month and then $75 per prescription for up to three prescriptions in the second month.
- Allows you can save up to $75 per prescription for one prescription per month after two months.
Ask your doctor if you qualify for this program. They can get a physical card for you at the doctor’s office. You can activate this card online.
Since Belbuca is buprenorphine and not a full opioid agonist like oxycodone or hydrocodone, it is much safer. As a result, you can get more medication refills.
Depending on where you live, you can get up to five refills, rather than visiting your doctor every month to get a new prescription. You can have a 90-day supply of Belbuca. This allows you to manage your chronic pain more effectively and with less hassle.
Bicycle Health provides Suboxone therapy for opioid use disorder. Bicycle offers educational resources on Belbuca, Subutex and Sublocade, but does not currently offer those therapies.