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NIDA Notes Articles: Opioids

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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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Methadone Reduces Rats' Cocaine Seeking

December 2008

Reports on an animal study showing that methadone, normally used as a therapy for opioid abuse, may prove to be an effective treatment for cocaine abuse.

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Methadone Therapy in Prison Benefits Men a Year Out

November 2009

Describes clinical trial results providing evidence that methadone maintenance to men in prison can pay off in better retention in community treatment and reduced drug abuse following their release.

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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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More Convenient Preparations of Buprenorphine Pass Test

July 2012

Soluble-film preparations of buprenorphine suppressed heroin abusers’ withdrawal symptoms with no serious side effects in a recent clinical trial. They dissolved more rapidly in the mouth than the pill form of the medication, providing faster relief.

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Morphine-Induced Immunosuppression, From Brain to Spleen

June 2008

Reports on scientists who pinpointed the biochemical trigger from morphine that sets off a chain reaction that inhibits an immune cell that is key in fighting viruses and cancer.

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Naltrexone Implant Outperforms Daily Pill in Russian Trial

November 2013

More than half of heroin-addicted patients treated with naltrexone via an implanted delivery device maintained abstinence throughout a 6-month clinical trial in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The implant device, which releases a steady dose of naltrexone continuously for 2 months, averted relapse to heroin use three times as effectively as daily oral doses of the medication.

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Naltrexone via Skin Patch Proves Effectiveness of New Technology

November 2009

Reports on a new device that creates tiny painless punctures in the skin to allow medication to flow evenly from a skin patch into dermal capillaries and the bloodstream.

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