FDA Approves First Monthly Injection to Treat Opioid Addiction

syringe
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first ever buprenorphine injection for the treatment of moderate-to-severe opioid use disorder (OUD) in adult patients. The new injection is the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) option, Sublocade, which provides a new treatment option for patients in recovery from opioid addiction who may value the benefits of a once-monthly injection, compared to other forms of buprenorphine treatment. MAT is a comprehensive approach that combines approved medications (currently, methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone) with counseling and other behavioral therapies to help provide effective treatment and long-term recovery in patients with OUD. “Given the scale of the opioid crisis, with millions of Americans already affected, the FDA is committed to expanding access to treatments that can help people pursue lives of sobriety. Everyone who seeks treatment for opioid use disorder deserves the opportunity to be offered the treatment best suited to the needs of each individual patient,...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
79 Hits
0 Comments

Surgeons Try Prescribing Fewer Opioids to Combat Addiction Risks

89306373
NPR reports that a group of surgeons at the University of Michigan has devised an approach that could lead to significant changes in how opioids are prescribed and help curb the nation’s opioid epidemic – prescribing fewer opioids after surgery. Their findings were published this week in the journal, JAMA Surgery . The group of surgeons suggests that to lower the risk of opioid addiction, surgeons should prescribe patients fewer painkillers after surgery — a critical time when many people are first introduced to what can be highly addictive opioid medications. They should also talk with patients about proper use of opioids and the associated addiction risks. The researchers identified 170 post-surgery patients and surveyed them within a year of their gallbladder operations, inquiring about how many pills they actually used. They employed the findings to create new hospital guidelines that cut back on the standard opioid prescription for gallbladder...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
151 Hits
0 Comments

Deaths During Opioid-Related Hospital Stays in U.S. Quadrupled

722176
A new study released earlier this week confirms that deaths in opioid-related hospital stays in the U.S. have quadrupled between 1993 and 2014, PBS NewsHour reports. Zirui Song, an assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, launched the study in 2016 in an effort to gain a better understanding of the patients he treated. Dr. Song analyzed nearly 385,000 hospital stays involving patients who were admitted for opioid use with data from the National Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, a national database compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality. His research confirmed that by 2014, four times as many patients died from opioid-related causes while staying in the hospital, rising from 0.43 percent before 2000 to 2.02 percent. Over the same time period, the study also found that patients admitted to the hospital for opioid...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
131 Hits
0 Comments

Millions of Dollars Needed for Trump’s Anti-Opioid Ad Campaign, Advocates Say

109264248
The anti-drug ad campaign advocated by President Trump’s opioid commission will need millions of dollars in funding, advocates tell The Hill . It is not clear how such a campaign would be funded, the article notes. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who chaired the commission, said the campaign should be paid for by the federal government, with private sector partners. The report, released recently, included 56 recommendations, including an aggressive multimedia campaign to fight the opioid epidemic. An ad campaign must be part of a more comprehensive approach that includes strengthening treatment and changing opioid prescribing patterns, advocates say. In order to be effective, a campaign must be based on evaluations of what has been effective in the past, and must frequently test the ad’s message with the target audience, they note. “We’ve learned a lot about how to communicate about these issues in the past three decades or so....
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
403 Hits
0 Comments

Addressing the Opioid Crisis Means Confronting Socioeconomic Disparities

Opioid-crisis
Blog by Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) The brain adapts and responds to the environments and conditions in which a person lives. When we speak of addiction as a chronic disorder of the brain, it thus includes an understanding that some individuals are more susceptible to drug use and addiction than others, not only because of genetic factors but also because of stress and a host of other environmental and social factors in their lives that have made them more vulnerable. Opioid addiction is often described as an “equal opportunity” problem that can afflict people from all races and walks of life, but while true enough, this obscures the fact that the opioid crisis has particularly affected some of the poorest regions of the country, such as Appalachia, and that people living in poverty are especially at risk for addiction and its consequences like overdose...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
447 Hits
0 Comments

Drug Use Disorder vs. Drug Misuse - What is the Difference?

Disorder
In 2016, approximately 2.1 million Americans over the age of 11 suffered from addiction to opioids such as the prescription pain medications OxyContin and Vicodin or the illegal drug heroin. Yet, 11.8 million people – nearly six times as many – reported misusing opioids, primarily prescription medications. Although it does not receive the same media attention as addiction – clinically known as opioid use disorder - this startling figure highlights a serious yet often overlooked problem within our society: the issue of opioid misuse. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “DRUG USE DISORDER” AND “DRUG MISUSE”? As the clinical term for drug addiction, drug use disorder (DUD) describes a complex disease that affects both the brain and the body. DUD, characterized by the compulsive use of one or more drugs, such as opioids, despite serious health and social consequences, typically develops during an individual’s adolescence and may affect him/her for an...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
722 Hits
0 Comments

SPOTLIGHT: Jamestown, NY Affiliate’s Opioid Prevention Program

19293651
  Recently, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced distribution of $25 million in federal funding to address the opioid crisis in New York State. The Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council (CASAC) in Jamestown, NY was one of the award recipients and will receive $100,000 to provide evidence-based prevention programs to underserved, hard-to-reach youth, and other at-risk populations in the City of Dunkirk. CASAC has established a collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County and the Salvation Army’s After School Programs. Youth and adults will have the opportunity to engage in the “Too Good” evidence-based after school program. This program focuses on prevention education through social and emotional learning, empowering youth and teens with skills needed for academic, social and life successes. Elementary and middle school students will engage in positive, engaging, age-appropriate activities including games, stories and songs. The program reinforces basic prevention concepts,...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
254 Hits
0 Comments

Medicare Places Few Restrictions on Opioid Prescriptions: Study

19094108
Medicare has not put significant restrictions in place for opioid prescriptions, despite recent government guidelines that recommend such limits, according to a new study. Yale researchers analyzed Medicare coverage for opioids. They found that in 2015, one-third of opioids were prescribed with no restrictions, such as prior authorization or setting quantity limits, HealthDay reports. The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine , also found a modest increase in Medicare coverage of opioids between 2006 and 2015. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines that recommend primary care providers avoid prescribing opioid painkillers for patients with chronic pain. The guidelines state that doctors who determine that opioid painkillers are needed should prescribe the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time.
Rate this blog entry:
343 Hits
0 Comments

FDA Requires Makers of Fast-Acting Opioids to Pay for Doctor Training

Pills-in-a-circle
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will require makers of fast-acting opioids to fund voluntary training for healthcare professionals who prescribe the drugs, according to Reuters . The training will include education on safe prescribing practices and non-opioid alternatives. The FDA informed 74 manufacturers of immediate-release opioids that they will have to fund training for doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Companies that make extended-release and long-acting formulations of opioids already must pay for training of healthcare professionals. The FDA is also considering some type of mandatory education on opioids, the article notes. According to the FDA, approximately 160 million prescriptions a year – about 90 percent of all opioid pain medications prescribed in the United States – are for fast-acting formulations.
Rate this blog entry:
410 Hits
0 Comments

CVS Sets Limits on Opioid Prescriptions

CVS
CVS announced it will set limits on opioid prescriptions and add in-store disposal units for consumers so they can drop off unwanted and unused medications. CVS said it wants to ensure that opioids are being prescribed and used appropriately, consistent with guidelines for prescribing opioids set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to a company news release, CVS will limit the supply of opioids dispensed for certain acute prescriptions to seven days; limit the daily dosage of opioids dispensed based on the strength of the opioid; and require the use of immediate-release formulations of opioids before extended-release opioids are dispensed. USA Today reports the company will instruct pharmacists to contact doctors when they come across prescriptions that appear to offer more medication than would be deemed necessary for a patient’s recovery.
Rate this blog entry:
1045 Hits
0 Comments