October 11, 2018

New Med Reduces Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Lofexidine, the first medication for use in reducing symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal in adults, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Lofexidine, an oral tablet, is designed to manage the symptoms patients often experience during opioid discontinuation.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms, which can begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken, may include aches and pains, muscle spasms/twitching, stomach cramps, muscular tension, heart pounding, insomnia/problems sleeping, feelings of coldness, runny eyes, yawning, and feeling sick, among others.

The product will be marketed under the brand name LUCEMYRATM.

Helps Prevent Relapse

In 2016, more than 42,000 people died from an opioid overdose, or approximately 115 people per day. Although effective treatments exist for opioid addiction, painful and difficult withdrawal is one of the reasons treatment fails, and relapse occurs.

By alleviating symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal, LUCEMYRA could help patients complete their discontinuation of opioids and facilitate successful treatment. To date, no other medications have been approved to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms.

LUCEMYRA will be marketed by US WorldMeds, a specialty pharmaceutical company that acquired a license for lofexidine from Britannia Pharmaceuticals in 2003. NIDA provided funding to US WorldMeds to support clinical trials to document the clinical pharmacokinetics of lofexidine and to test medical safety and efficacy of the medication, as compared to a placebo, among patients undergoing medically supervised opioid discontinuation.

LUCEMYRA was expected to be commercially available in the United States in August 2018.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse. "FDA approves first medication to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms." News Releases. May 2018.

Posted by Webmaster at 06:08 PM


October 08, 2018

Even Light Drinking Increases Risk of Death

Drinking a daily glass of wine for health reasons may not be so healthy after all, suggests a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Analyzing data from more than 400,000 people ages 18 to 85, the researchers found that consuming one to two drinks four or more times per week -- an amount deemed healthy by current guidelines -- increases the risk of premature death by 20 percent, compared with drinking three times a week or less. The increased risk of death was consistent across age groups.

The study is published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Increased Mortality Risk

"It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health," said first author Sarah M. Hartz, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry. "But now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk."

Although some earlier studies have linked light drinking to improvements in cardiovascular health, Hartz said the new study shows that those potential gains are outweighed by other risks. Her team evaluated heart disease risk and cancer risk and found that although in some cases, drinking alcohol may reduce risk of heart-related problems, daily drinking increased cancer risk and, as a result, mortality risk.

"Consuming one or two drinks about four days per week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits," she said. "With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental."

Safest Level of Drinking: None

The new study comes on the heels of research published in The Lancet, which reviewed data from more than 700 studies around the world and concluded that the safest level of drinking is none. But that study looked at all types of drinking-- from light alcohol consumption to binge drinking. The Washington University team analysis focused on light drinkers: those who consumed only one or two drinks a day.

The Washington University study focused on two large groups of people in the United States: 340,668 participants, ages 18-85, in the National Health Interview Survey, and another 93,653 individuals, ages 40-60 who were treated as outpatients at Veterans Administration clinics.

"A 20 percent increase in risk of death is a much bigger deal in older people who already are at higher risk," Hartz explained. "Relatively few people die in their 20s, so a 20 percent increase in mortality is small but still significant. As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20 percent risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25."

The Risk Is Cancer

She predicted that as medicine becomes more personalized, some doctors may recommend that people with family histories of heart problems have a drink from time to time, but in families with a history of cancer, physicians may recommend abstinence.

"If you tailor medical recommendations to an individual person, there may be situations under which you would think that occasional drinking potentially could be helpful," she said. "But overall, I do think people should no longer consider a glass of wine a day to somehow be healthy."

Posted by Webmaster at 07:53 AM