Extended-release opioid addiction medication prevents relapses, study finds

NYU Langone Medical Center in New York recently conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial and found an extended-release version of the opioid addiction medication naltrexone can help prevent relapses.

The study was conducted in men who suffered from opioid addiction and who had previous involvement with the criminal justice system. All total, 153 participants were given monthly injections of extended-release naltrexone, and 155 did not receive the drug. Ultimately, the research revealed:

1. After six months, 64 percent of the control group participants relapsed, while only 43 percent of the treatment group participants relapsed.

2. Members of the treatment group who did relapse used significantly less heroin and other opioids than those who relapsed in the control group.

3. Over the six-month study period, no one from the treatment group overdosed, compared with five overdoses in the control group.

"The use of extended-release naltrexone and other medications, including buprenorphine and methadone, in community treatment and criminal justice settings has lagged behind the public health need for effective treatments to reduce relapse, risk of overdose and burdens on the criminal justice system," said lead author Joshua D. Lee, MD. "Our findings highlight its effectiveness for treating opioid addiction…and shine a light on the need for evidence-based medications in all communities."



More articles on opioids:
New Jersey's largest ER shares findings from Alternatives to Opiates program
US health officials call for mandatory pill-tracking database to curb opioid abuse
Obama announces additional actions to combat nation's opioid epidemic: 3 things to know

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