Long-Term Trial of Opioid Dependence Successful

Long-Term Trial of Opioid Dependence Successful

The treatment of drug addiction is challenging. Often those who enroll in support groups or other types of traditional therapy-based treatment need additional help with overcoming the physical challenge of addiction cravings.

A new study conducted by Alkermes plc, developers of the drug Vivitrol, has shown evidence that the drug may hold promise for the treatment of opioid addiction. The naltrexone drug has been tested for an 18-month period.

The results were presented at the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress. The findings were a one-year extension of a six-month study on the use of the medication Vivitrol, in which its effectiveness was determined by number of urine screenings that showed opioid-free patients. The patients were also given psychosocial treatment in addition to the Vivitrol administered.

The study’s findings also showed that the safety requirements measured during the extension study for the drug were constant between the extension and the information developed for the product’s label.

Evgeny Krupitsky,Ph.D, M.D., Head of the Department of Addictions at Bekhterev Research Psychoneurological Institute and Professor of Psychiatry at St. Petersburg State Pavlov Medical University, said in an article on Medical News Today that the strong findings confirm the safe use of the drug as an effective treatment for opioid addiction.

In addition, said Dr. Krupitsky, the drug must be used following detoxification for opioid use. The drug is the only drug so far that can be administered once a month to patients and gives recovering opioid addicts and their doctors an option outside of narcotics for treatment of a difficult condition.

The researchers found that the patients in the trial made improvements not only in the initial six-month period, but also continuing through the 18-month extension. Nearly 50 percent of the participants, following treatment for six months with Vivitrol, were able to remain opioid-free for the entire year of the extension study.

The study’s extension also measured how patients responded to the medication in terms of cravings, quality of life, and opioid use, based on reports from the patients.

The study’s findings show that there were minimal levels observed of adverse actions as well as a small rate of pain at the site of injection, in addition to no reports of reactions at the injection site. The findings also show that no participants declined to continue the study through the additional twelve months due to significant negative reaction. The adverse effects most often reported were an occurrence of toothaches and influenza.

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