Lucemyra has been on the market in the UK to assist with opioid withdrawal symptoms for about twenty years, but its use in the US has only just been approved. The FDA cleared the drug last Wednesday via fast-track to give American doctors another tool for fighting the opioid epidemic.
Lucemyra alone is not to be considered treatment for opioid use disorder, the FDA says. However, clinical trials prove that it can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms that patients experience when they cease opioid use completely. This can give a person with an opioid use disorder a lifeline to help them get clean once and for all. Combined with therapy, 12-step programs and other tools, Lucemyra can help people find their way to recovery without the torment of many withdrawal symptoms.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says that this makes the drug an important tool that warranted quick approval. “The physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be one of the biggest barriers for patients seeking help and ultimately overcoming addiction,” he said in a press release. “The fear of experiencing withdrawal symptoms often prevents those suffering from opioid addiction from seeking help. And those who seek assistance may relapse due to continued withdrawal symptoms.”
What is Opioid Withdrawal Like?
Opioid withdrawal can be intense and vary. People just getting off of opioids, when withdrawing rapidly, can be anxious, agitate, and experience a variety of mood swings. Physical symptoms include muscle aches, runny nose, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. A person with an opioid use disorder will also experience strong cravings for their drug of choice.
For people who have merely been on opioids for a while, but not abusing their medication, doctors help them create a plan for tapering and lowing the amount of drug taken. However, this is dangerous in more than one way for a person with an opioid use disorder, and temptation is the major worry.
Clinical studies will be required to evaluate the safety of Lucemyra. Right now, the FDA only recommends that people take thedrug for a maximum of 14 days.
Are There Any Side Effects?
All drugs have potential side effects, and it’s up to you and your doctor to weigh the pros and cons of any medication-assisted treatment.
According to the FDA, Lucemyra can cause low blood pressure, slow heart rate, sleepiness, sedation and dizziness. There is a risk of abnormal heart rythmns. Some people have fainted when taking Lucemyra. Lucemyra has not been established in children or adolescents less than 17 years of age.