A new study suggests the opioid painkiller hydromorphone may help treat people with heroin addiction.
The study included more than 200 people addicted to heroin who had not responded to treatment with methadone or buprenorphine, HealthDay reports. Participants were randomly chosen to receive injections of either hydromorphone (sold under the brand name Dilaudid) or pharmaceutical-grade prescription heroin, called diacetylmorphine. They received the injections in a clinic, under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
At the beginning of the study, participants used heroin almost daily. After six months, patients in both groups reported using street heroin and other opioids three to five days a month. They also reported a large drop in the number of days they committed crimes—from an average of 14 days to less than four. Almost 80 percent of both groups were still in treatment after six months.