Only one in four young adults and teens with opioid use disorder (OUD) are receiving potentially life-saving medications for addiction treatment, according to a new Boston Medical Center (BMC) study published online in JAMA Pediatrics.
Buprenorphine and naltrexone are medications used to treat OUD that help prevent relapse and overdose when used appropriately. In late 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended, for the first time, that providers offer medication treatment to adolescents with OUD.
Prior studies have shown that among all adults in treatment for opioids, one-third started using opioids before age 18, and two-thirds started before age 25. Unlike methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone can be offered in the primary care setting. However, few teens receive medication due, in part, to a widespread shortage of physicians who have received a waiver certification required to prescribe buprenorphine. And, as researchers note, of all of the physicians who are certified in the United States, only one-percent are pediatricians.
Full story of treating young people with opioid use disorder at drugfree.org
Medications can help people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol. One medication that can reduce alcohol craving and help promote recovery is naltrexone, which is approved for treatment of alcohol dependence by the Food and Drug Administration. It is available in two forms — injectable and oral. This pilot study evaluated the feasibility of injectable versus oral naltrexone, administered in a hospital setting to enhance treatment compliance when patients leave the hospital.
Fifty-four veterans diagnosed with alcohol use disorder were recruited from a larger population of 113 veterans hospitalized for an acute medical or psychiatric illness. Participants were randomly divided into two groups: one received either 50-mg oral naltrexone for daily use plus a 30-day prescription; the other received a 380-mg intramuscular 30-day sustained release naltrexone injection prior to discharge, with a second injection one month later. Researchers followed up with both groups at 14 and 45 days following discharge.
Full story of injectable versus oral naltrexone at Science Daily
Public health officials are urging doctors to consider prescribing medications to treat alcohol addiction, NPR reports. The drugs can be used alongside or in place of peer-support programs.
“We want people to understand we think AA is wonderful, but there are other options,” said George Koob, Director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He says there are two drugs on the market for patients with alcohol cravings, naltrexone and acamprosate. “They’re very safe medications, and they’ve shown efficacy,” he said.
Full story of doctors to treat alcohol addiction at drugfree.org
Monthly injections of the anti-abuse drug naltrexone, coupled with counseling, can help homeless alcoholics reduce their drinking, a new study suggests.
The researchers found 33 percent of study participants had decreases in alcohol craving; 25 percent reduced the amount of alcohol consumed on a typical day; 34 percent reduced the amount they drank on a peak drinking day; 17 percent had a decrease in frequency of alcohol use; and 60 percent had a decrease in problems associated with alcohol use.
Naltrexone “acts as a pacifier to quiet brain receptors that are crying out for more alcohol,” said lead researcher Susan Collins, PhD of the University of Washington. “Abstinence-based alcohol treatment has not been effective for or desirable to many homeless people with alcohol dependence,” she added.
Full story of anti-drug abuse injection at drugfree.org
A new study finds two medications that can help people quit drinking are rarely used. The drugs, naltrexone and acamprosate, could be helping many thousands of people, the researchers say.
The drugs reduce alcohol cravings. They have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating alcoholism for more than a decade, The New York Times reports. Many doctors are not aware of the drugs’ usefulness, or question their effectiveness, the article notes.
The researchers reviewed data on about 23,000 people in 122 studies. They concluded that in order to prevent one person from returning to drinking, the number needed to take acamprosate was 12, and the number needed to take naltrexone was 20. In contrast, large studies of widely-used drugs such as cholesterol-lowering statins have found that 25 to more than 100 people need treatment to prevent one heart event.
Full story of medications to stop drinking at drugfree.org