Individuals addicted to prescription painkillers are more likely to succeed in treatment with the aid of the medication buprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone), report McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School researchers in today's online edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
"Adjunctive Counseling During Brief and Extended Buprenorphine-Naloxone Treatment for Prescription Opioid Dependence," is the first large-scale study to address treatment of prescription opioid addiction. According to lead author Roger Weiss, MD, Chief of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse at McLean Hospital, most studies examining treatments for opioid dependence have been done with heroin-dependent patients at methadone clinics, resulting in the lack of data on treatment for patients addicted to prescription painkillers, especially in the offices of primary care doctors.
"Despite the tremendous increase in the prevalence of addiction to prescription painkillers, little research has focused on this patient population," said Weiss, a professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "This is notable because recent data tell us that the use of prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons is 20 times more common than heroin and 50 percent more people seek treatment for prescription drug abuse than for heroin."
Part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network, this is the first randomized large scale clinical trial for the treatment of prescription opioid abuse, involving 10 sites nationwide and more than 600 treatment-seeking outpatients dependent on prescription opioids and either taking more than prescribed or using them illicitly. Each participant received Suboxone—a combination of buprenorphine, which alleviates opioid withdrawal and craving, and naloxone, which prevents abuse if the drug is not taken orally as prescribed—in conjunction with Standard Medical Management, in which physicians evaluated treatment effectiveness and recommended abstinence and self-help participation. Fifty percent of study participants also received additional more intensive individual addiction counseling.
According to Weiss, 49 percent of patients benefitted from Suboxone during a 12-week course of the medication. However, once the medication was discontinued, patients had a high rate of relapse. Monitored in four week increments, individuals showed an increasing rate of relapse the longer they remained off Suboxone. Another interesting finding, noted Weiss was that neither having chronic pain, nor participation in intensive addiction counseling affected the participant's success rate.
"We were surprised by some of these findings because there was an overall assumption that this population—those who have had little to no exposure to heroin—would do better in terms of not needing long-term medication intervention," said Weiss. "It is clear that given the prescription drug abuse epidemic, we need to continue to look at the viability of longer-term use of Suboxone and whether it can continue to provide sustained recovery from addiction to pain medications."
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 1.9 million people in the United States meet abuse or dependence criteria for prescription pain relievers. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that annually, more people die from prescription painkiller overdoses than from heroin and cocaine combined.
McLean Hospital is the largest psychiatric clinical care, teaching and research facility of Harvard Medical School, an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of Partners HealthCare. For more information about McLean Hospital, visit www.mclean.harvard.edu.
Adriana Bobinchock | EurekAlert!
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering