Extended-release naltrexone lowers relapse rates in ex-offenders

Science Spotlight

Image
little Hand in jail
Image by ©istockphoto/kwanchaichaiudom

New research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revealed that the relapse rates among criminal justice involved adults with a history of opioid dependence were lower for participants receiving extended-release naltrexone than for those receiving treatment as usual (brief counseling and referrals for community treatment programs). Administered as a monthly injection, naltrexone is an FDA-approved sustained-release, opioid antagonist for the prevention of relapse to opioid dependence.

This study is the first large randomized trial of extended-release naltrexone versus usual care conditions among criminal justice involved adults. The findings showed that 24 weeks (six monthly injections) of extended-release naltrexone resulted in a significantly lower opioid relapse rate (43 percent vs. 64 percent) among the two groups. Additionally, while there were no overdoses observed in the extended-release naltrexone group, there were seven in the usual care group, with three resulting in fatalities.  

For a copy of the abstract, “Extended-Release Naltrexone to Prevent Opioid Relapse in Ex-Offenders,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine, go to http://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1505409.

For more information about criminal justice and drug abuse, including Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations - A Research-Based Guide, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/criminal-justice-drug-abuse

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245. Follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook

NIDA Press Office
301-443-6245
media@nida.nih.gov

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. For more information about NIDA and its programs, visit www.drugabuse.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®