On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved an extremely effective nonopioid drug that can treat withdrawal symptoms in former opioid addicts. Lucemyra has successfully treated some of the worst withdrawal symptoms in clinical trials, such as vomiting, nausea, anxiety, and muscle aches.
In the trials, the drug alleviated the symptoms better than the placebos. Also, volunteers that were given Lucemyra were more likely to complete a discontinuation treatment.
The drug has been in use for over two decades in Britain, but it is the first time it is approved in the United States. The FDA insisted that the medication does not aim at treating the addiction or curbing cravings. It can be used to help patients quit the opioid addiction and stay away from the addictive drugs long term.
For example, therapists could pair the oral drug with other drugs like naltrexone that can block the effects of opioids on the brain. Lucemyra is so effective because it lowers the production of a chemical that causes the withdrawal symptoms, norepinephrine.
New Drug Could Help Curb Opioid Addiction Rates
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb noted that withdrawal symptoms are one of the biggest challenges for patients wanting to quit the opioid addiction. The fear of experiencing these symptoms prevents many addicts from seeking help, while those in therapy may relapse because of the symptoms.
Patients that use the painkillers as prescribed may experience the symptoms, but they can manage them by reducing the doses. In Opioid abusers, the symptoms are much worse, and they need medication to stay clean.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse Director is confident that the newly approved drug could convince more patients to take Vivitrol (naltrexone) and quit.
Lofexidine could benefit the thousands of Americans seeking medical help for their opioid addiction,
NIDA’s head Nora Volkow, MD, wrote in a recent blog post.
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