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.
George E. Bigelow | EurekAlert!
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