In animal studies, α2δ-1 and its interactions with NMDA receptors in the spinal cord triggered the pain sensitivity and analgesic tolerance that occurs with chronic morphine treatment. Blocking the α2δ-1–NMDA interaction reduced opioid-induced hyperalgesia and analgesic tolerance.
The spread of marijuana use and the opioid epidemic over the past 10 years have affected middle-aged and older Americans. In addition, prescription opioid and benzodiazepine misuse increased older adults’ risk of suicidal thoughts.
Interim treatment with buprenorphine significantly improved the psychiatric symptoms of people awaiting comprehensive treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Buprenorphine treatment, even without concurrent psychosocial counseling, may help patients with no, or delayed, access to comprehensive OUD treatment.
A recent NIDA-sponsored study found higher rates of NAS among males than among females. A second study found that, among infants whose mothers were treated with buprenorphine while pregnant, NAS was more severe among those whose mothers used other substances.
Several effective medications are now available for treating opioid use disorder but many patients who could benefit do not receive them. Some patients who receive the medications face challenges to staying in treatment.
High-frequency electrical stimulation of neurons deep in the brain can reduce rats’ relapse-like behavior and motivation to take heroin. The finding strengthens hope that deep brain stimulation might offer a new treatment alternative for opioid addiction, particularly for patients who have not benefited from other treatments.
In two pilot clinical trials, buprenorphine helped participants reduce their illicit opioid use and injection drug use while awaiting admission to a methadone or buprenorphine treatment program. Researchers minimized the risks for improper use or diversion of the study medication by giving it to trial participants in a computerized, tamper-proof device that dispenses one dose each day.
New studies show that two novel compounds powerfully suppressed animals’ pain responses, while producing little or none of the respiratory depression and liability for misuse and abuse associated with morphine and other typical opioids.
Legally protected marijuana dispensaries (LMDs) were associated with lower rates of dependence on prescription opioids, and deaths due to opioid overdose, than would have been expected based on prior trends. However, LMDs also were associated with higher rates of recreational marijuana use and increased potency of illegal marijuana.
Treatment that combines use of Bp/Nx and memantine may enable young adults addicted to opioids establish lasting abstinence after a relatively brief course of medication-assisted therapy, a pilot trial suggests.
A significant portion of individuals who are addicted to opioid painkillers may initiate and maintain abstinence with a brief but intensive outpatient detoxification treatment followed by opioid antagonist therapy using naltrexone.