Patients Treated for Opioid Addiction in General Health System at Higher Risk of Death

Patients Treated for Opioid Addiction in General Health System at Higher Risk of Death
Patients treated for an opioid use disorder in a general healthcare system instead of an addiction treatment center face a higher risk of death, a new study concludes. Researchers at UCLA found patients treated for opioid addiction in primary care offices or hospitals are more than twice as likely to die than those treated in addiction treatment centers, according to HealthDay. “The high rates of death among patients with opioid use disorder in a general health care system reported in this study suggest we need strategies to improve detection and treatment of this disorder in primary care settings,” study lead author Yih-Ing Hser said in a UCLA news release. She noted that as opioid addiction has grown in the United States, people with opioid use disorders are increasingly being treated in primary care provider offices. The findings are published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine .
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Prescription Opioids Provided to Patients During Treatment For Opioid Addiction

Prescription Opioids Provided to Patients During Treatment For Opioid Addiction
More than two in five people receiving buprenorphine, a drug commonly used to treat opioid addiction, are also given prescriptions for other opioid painkillers - and two-thirds are prescribed opioids after their treatment is complete, a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study suggests. The findings, published in the journal Addiction , demonstrate the need for greater resources devoted to medication-assisted treatment, a common clinical tool to address the epidemic. The idea behind medication-assisted treatment is that patients are given low-dose opioids that produce some of the effects of opioids while staving off physical withdrawal symptoms. The low-dose opioids produce weaker effects than drugs such as oxycodone or heroin, which come with the risk of addiction and overdose. With medication-assisted treatment, rigorous studies have shown that patients are more able to remain healthy and productive members of society. An article in Medical News Today brought the stuidy to...
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Researchers Discover Gene Variant Linked With Opioid Addiction in African Americans

Researchers Discover Gene Variant Linked With Opioid Addiction in African Americans
The discovery of a gene variant associated with opioid addiction in African Americans may lead to personalized methadone treatment, according to HealthDay . The gene variant helped identify African Americans who might need higher doses of methadone. Patients receiving methadone treatment for opioid addiction vary widely in their dose requirements, the researchers note. Too high of a dose can cause sedation and dangerous breathing difficulties, while too low of a dose can lead to relapse. “Opioid addiction has become a national epidemic, and improving the effectiveness of medical therapies has to be a priority,” study lead author Andrew Smith of Yale University said in a news release. The same gene variant was also found to predict the morphine dose needed to achieve effective pain control in African American children undergoing surgery. The findings are published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry .
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Senate Passes Bill Providing $1 Billion for Prevention and Treatment of Opioid Addiction

Senate Passes Bill Providing $1 Billion for Prevention and Treatment of Opioid Addiction
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes $1 billion in new funding to prevent and treat opioid addiction. The House approved the measure last week. The legislation includes funding for cancer research and mental health treatment, and will help the Food and Drug Administration speed up drug approvals. The measure also aims to improve the use of technology in medicine. The legislation passed 94 to 5, according to The New York Times . President Obama issued a statement praising passage of the bill. He said, “The Cures Act makes important investments that will save lives.” The Act includes several items that impact the prevention and treatment of substance abuse disorders. It will: Establish a new account, the account for the state response to the opioid abuse crisis, with $500 million per year for FY2017 and FY2018; funds are to be distributed as part of...
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House Approves Bill Providing $1 Billion in New Funding to Curb Opioid Addiction

House Approves Bill Providing $1 Billion in New Funding to Curb Opioid Addiction
The U.S. House on Wednesday approved the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes $1 billion in new funding for the prevention and treatment of opioid addiction. The bill will now go to the Senate, where it is expected to pass by next week, USA Today reports. The White House, in a statement supporting passage of the measure, said, “The resources included in the bill will allow states to expand access to treatment to help individuals seeking help to find it and to start the road to recovery, with preference given to states with an incidence or prevalence of opioid use disorders that is substantially higher relative to other states.”
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Some People Ask Judges to Lock Them Up to Get Inpatient Opioid Addiction Treatment

Some People Ask Judges to Lock Them Up to Get Inpatient Opioid Addiction Treatment
Some people addicted to heroin are asking judges to lock them up so they can get access to treatment for opioid addiction, NPR reports. In Massachusetts, some people addicted to opioids are using a law designed for family members to commit loved ones to a locked facility if they are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others because of substance use. Thirty-eight states allow civil commitment for substance abuse, the article notes. About 8,000 people in Massachusetts will be committed to substance abuse treatment this year, up 40 percent from five years ago. In many cases, people are assigned to a privately run treatment center. If there is no room at private centers, some men are assigned to a program at the state prison. Women committed to mandatory treatment in civil proceedings in the state only go to privately run centers.
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Study Shows Promising Results for Injectable Treatment for Opioid Dependence

Study Shows Promising Results for Injectable Treatment for Opioid Dependence
A new injectable treatment for opioid addiction showed promise in a late-stage study, according to The Wall Street Journal . The study involved weekly and monthly injections of buprenorphine for the treatment of moderate to severe opioid use disorder. Buprenorphine is currently available as a tablet and as film that dissolves in the mouth. According to Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, which makes the new treatment, the study included 428 patients. It showed the injections were superior to the tablet treatment. The company plans to submit the drug for approval by mid-2017, the article notes. “A weekly buprenorphine injection would be an attractive option for initiation, early treatment, and treatment of unstable patients, where weekly medical visits are common, whereas a monthly injection is an attractive option for longer term maintenance treatment where monthly visits are common practice,” Dr. Edward Nunes, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and Investigator in...
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Biotech Company Develops Genetic Test Aims To Identify People at Risk for Opioid Addiction

Biotech Company Develops Genetic Test Aims To Identify People at Risk for Opioid Addiction
Proove Bioscience, in Irvine, California, has developed a cheek-swab DNA test that, coupled with a questionnaire, identifies a person’s risk of becoming addicted, reports CBS Los Angeles. The California-based biotech company says that it’s DNA test can take on the nation’s opioid epidemic by identify patients who are genetically predisposed to becoming addicted to painkillers. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, nearly 2 million people were addicted to pain medication in 2014, and close to 19,000 died from painkiller overdoses, That year, more people died from drug overdoses than ever before, and six out of ten of those deaths involved opioids, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many areas, the opioid drug crisis continues to grow. Opioid addiction commonly begins in the doctor’s office, when physicians write prescriptions for patients, recent reports suggest. Patients predisposed to addiction do not know they’re more at...
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Many Doctors Who Prescribe Buprenorphine Could Be Treating More Patients

Many Doctors Who Prescribe Buprenorphine Could Be Treating More Patients
Many doctors who are allowed to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction are treating many fewer patients than they could be, a new study finds. More than 20 percent of doctors who have government waivers to prescribe buprenorphine treated three or fewer patients, and fewer than 10 percent treated more than 75 patients, NPR reports. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association , was conducted when doctors were allowed to treat up to 30 patients at a time for the first year, and then up to 100 patients after that. This summer, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced doctors will now be able to treat up to 275 patients if they have additional credentialing in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry from a specialty medical board and/or professional society, or practice in what the HHS deems a qualified setting.
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Kratom Will Become Schedule I Drug

Kratom Will Become Schedule I Drug
The Drug Enforcement Administration announced kratom, a plant-based drug with opioid-like effects, will become a Schedule I drug. Kratom has long been considered an herbal supplement, USA Today reports. Schedule I drugs are considered to have a high potential for abuse and to have no currently accepted medical treatment use. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned kratom is an emerging public health threat. Kratom can lead to psychosis, seizures and death, the CDC said. “Law enforcement nationwide has seized more kratom in the first half of 2016 than any previous year and easily accounts for millions of dosages intended for the recreational market,” the DEA said in a news release.
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