One-shot addiction treatment shows promise
Long-lasting depot medication appears safe and effective for treatment of narcotic addiction
A study in the January issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence reports that a long-lasting depot medication appears safe and effective for treatment of narcotic addiction. In the study a single injection prevented withdrawal discomfort for 6 weeks in heroin-dependent patients, reduced the effects of injected opiates, and provided a comfortable detoxification as it gradually wore off.
The study medication was an experimental injectable sustained-release depot formulation of the medication buprenorphine. The injection is a suspension of biodegradable microcapsules each containing small amounts of the buprenorphine medication. As the microcapsules gradually disintegrate they provide a long-duration sustained release of buprenorphine. A tablet form of buprenorphine that is taken by holding it under the tongue is already used in the U.S. and around the world as an analgesic and as a treatment for opioid dependence; the tablet normally needs to be taken every day. The recent study was the first to test this new long-lasting depot formulation in humans. The study examined the safety and pharmacokinetics of the depot medication, and tested its effectiveness for reducing the opioid withdrawal syndrome and for reducing the effects of opioid challenge injections.
Participants were five volunteer physically dependent heroin abusers. In a residential laboratory setting the heroin abusers each had their narcotics abruptly stopped and was instead given a depot injection of 58 mg of buprenorphine. For the next 6 weeks the patients were assessed repeatedly for signs and symptoms of the opioid withdrawal syndrome. In addition, the volunteers received weekly challenge injections of the opioid hydromorphone (Dilaudid) to test whether their sensitivity to opioids was reduced by the depot buprenorphine treatment.
The results were promising both for prevention of the opioid withdrawal syndrome and for blockade of the opioid high from the hydromorphone challenge injections. No significant withdrawal syndrome occurred and no patient required additional medications. In addition, the effect of the opioid challenge injections appeared considerably reduced. No significant side effects were reported.
The ability of a single medication dose to have beneficial effects over 4 to 6 weeks is a significant finding for the treatment of opioid dependence. Further research will need to determine how this new product can best be used.
The depot medication holds promise both as a one shot detoxification treatment and as an alternative maintenance treatment. With the recent advent in the U.S. of office-based addiction treatment with sublingual buprenorphine, this longer-acting formulation could increase patient adherence to treatment, ease the visit burden on both patients and providers, and make treatment more accessible.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, under research grant support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The depot medication was developed and produced by Biotek, Inc. of Woburn, Massachusetts.
The study appeared in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Authors were Bai-Fang X. Sobel, Stacey C. Sigmon, Rolley E. Johnson, Ira A. Liebson and George Bigelow from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Elie S. Nuwayser and James H. Kerrigan from Biotek, Inc.
For more information, please contact:
George E. Bigelow
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
5510 Nathan Shock Drive
Baltimore, MD 21224-6823, USA
George E. Bigelow | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...