FDA OKs Drug to Treat Opioid Addiction
The FDA has approved a drug already used to treat alcohol dependence to help treat patients with addiction to heroin, morphine, and other opioids, including prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.
Vivitrol, a long-acting formulation of naltrexone given by injection once a month, was approved by the FDA to treat alcohol dependence in 2006. The FDA has now approved Vivitrol to treat and prevent relapse after patients with opioid addiction have undergone detoxification.
Vivitrol is in the class of drugs known as opioid antagonists, which block the brain’s opioid receptors, leaving patients unable to get high if they attempt to use opioids.
The FDA approved the use of Vivitrol on the basis of data from a six-month study that compared Vivitrol to placebo treatment in patients who had completed detoxification and who were no longer physically dependent on opioids.
The FDA says in a news release that patients treated with Vivitrol were more likely to stay in treatment and refrain from using illicit drugs. The agency says 36% of the Vivitrol-treated patients were able to stay in treatment for the full six months without using drugs, compared with 23% in the placebo group.
Oct 22, 2010