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NIDA Notes Articles: Opioids

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Dr. Marilyn Huestis Q & A: Matching Drug Effects to Drug Concentrations

September 2013

Dr. Marilyn Huestis of NIDA’s Intramural Research Program talks about conducting research on drug effects with human subjects, developing tests to help law enforcement identify drugged drivers, and an assay to help identify children whose prenatal exposure to anti-HIV drugs may put them at risk for adverse developmental outcomes.

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Expanded HIV Screening Projected To Decrease Spread of the Virus

April 2014

Intensified screening for HIV among injection drug users receiving opioid agonist therapy could prevent more than twice as many new infections as current screening practice. A recent study based on mathematical modeling found that screening every 6 months instead of annually, and adding viral RNA testing to the currently used HIV antibody testing, could improve both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

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Few Teens With Prescription Opioid Use Disorders Receive Treatment

July 2012

Fewer than 12 percent of adolescents who meet diagnostic criteria for prescription opioid abuse or dependence receive any treatment, according to an analysis of data from the 2005 to 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The most common reason the adolescents gave for not receiving treatment was their lack of perceived need for it.

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First-time Patients Opt for Office-Based Buprenorphine

October 2006
Presents highlights of a study suggesting that compared with methadone, office-based buprenorphine treatment attracts individuals who have less extensive addiction histories.

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Gene Variants Reduce Opioid Risks

June 2014

Two recent studies suggest that genotyping may enable clinicians to base therapies on individual patients’ potential responsiveness to opioid drugs’ therapeutic effects and vulnerability to their harmful effects.

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Incentives Reduce Stimulant Abuse During Methadone Maintenance

April 2007

Summarizes a study on the use of incentives to encourage abstinence among methadone maintenance patients in outpatient programs.

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Lofexidine May Enhance Naltrexone Efficacy

December 2008

Highlights results from a pilot study suggesting that lofexidine, an anti-hypertensive medication, can enhance success rates among patients taking maintenance naltrexone to avoid opioid relapse.

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Medications That Normalize Brain Glutamate Reduce Drug-Seeking in Rats

October 2010
Reports on two studies that demonstrate the promise of treating addiction with medications that alleviate drug-induced alterations in signaling by the neurotransmitter glutamate.

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Medications That Treat Opioid Addiction Do Not Impair Liver Health

December 2013

A trial of buprenorphine/naloxone (Bup/Nx) showed no evidence that the medicine was associated with liver damage. The drug gave results similar to those of methadone. The study data indicate that although most patients can be treated safely with either methadone or Bup/Nx without major concern for liver injury, clinicians are advised to continue to monitor the liver health of their patients who are on methadone or Bup/Nx therapy.

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Meeting Reviews Progress On Prescription Opioid Misuse

April 2007
Describes a meeting of researchers and clinicians who gathered to discuss the challenges in balancing appropriate pain treatment with efforts to minimize prescription opioid misuse.

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