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NIDA Notes Articles: Opioids

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Messages Shore Up Support for Making Life-Saving Anti-Overdose Medication Widely Available

October 2016

Public health messages can increase public approval for making naloxone legally available to friends and relatives of opioid users to administer if an overdose occurs.

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Study Links Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Reduced Mortality From Opioid Overdose

May 2016

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.

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Dual Regimen Aims To Shorten Medication-Assisted Therapy

May 2016

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.

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ED-Initiated Buprenorphine Outperforms Referral or SBIRT for ED Patients With Opioid Addiction

January 2016

Emergency department visits present prime opportunities to identify people with opioid addiction and provide them with onsite initiation of treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone.

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Digital Addiction Therapies Affirm Promise in Replication and Large Trial

November 2015

Two computerized programs improved outcomes when they were used to supplement or partially replace in-person behavioral therapy for drug addiction in recent NIDA-sponsored trials.

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Patients Addicted to Opioid Painkillers Achieve Good Results With Outpatient Detoxification

February 2015

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.

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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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Although Relatively Few, “Doctor Shoppers” Skew Opioid Prescribing

May 2014

One out of every 143 U.S. patients who received a prescription for an opioid painkiller in 2008 obtained prescriptions from multiple physicians in a pattern that suggests misuse or abuse of the drugs.

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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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Microneedle Milestone: One Week of Transdermal Drug Delivery

March 2014

Microneedles are an innovative technique for delivering medications through the skin, a route that could particularly benefit patients receiving naltrexone therapy for opioid and alcohol dependence. Researchers have found a way to use the transdermal technique to deliver a single treatment of naltrexone that lasts for 7 days.

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