FDA Approves Monthly Dose of Opioid Addiction Treatment

From Drugs.com - December 1, 2017

FDA Approves Monthly Dose of Opioid Addiction Treatment

FRIDAY, Dec. 1, 2017 -- A once-monthly injection of the opioid addiction drug buprenorphine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"Millions of Americans are suffering from addiction to opioid drugs, and millions more are worried that the overdose epidemic could claim the lives of a friend or loved one," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Thursday in an agency news release.

"We need immediate actions to help those suffering from an opioid use disorder transition to lives of sobriety," he added.

The new dosage provides patients with "access to a new and longer-acting option for the treatment of opioid addiction," Gottlieb noted.

The United States is in the grip of an opioid epidemic, with the number of overdose deaths quadrupling between 2000 and 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And Johns Hopkins researchers recently reported that deaths from drug overdoses rose from about 52,000 in 2015 to more than 64,000 in 2016. Most of those deaths involved opioids, including prescription pain medications such as fentanyl and oxycodone (Oxycontin), as well as the illegal drug heroin.

Hence, the need for more and better treatments.

"Medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction uses drugs to stabilize brain chemistry, reduce or block the euphoric effects of opioids, relieve physiological cravings and normalize body functions," Gottlieb explained.


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