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.
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.
March 2017 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.
October 2017 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.
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.
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.
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.