Lucemyra: FDA Approves New Medication-Assisted Treatment

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…

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Purdue Pharma “Fights Opioid Epidemic” – Too Little, Too Late?

Purdue Pharma is one of the largest opioid makers in the country and the subject of countless lawsuits in the past few years. They’ve received scrutiny over their choices to market and push Oxycontin on the doctors, and in February, they promised to stop actively marketing the drug. Now, this opioid maker is making efforts to help the people that are now addicted to their drugs. But is it just another PR campaign to mitigate the company’s bad reputation?   Critics say that all of this is “too little, too late.” Thousands have died from what even lawmakers say are irresponsible and maybe even illegal practices to push the drug. However, the dire consequences of opioid addiction make it so many localities can’t discriminate between funds. For many people addicted to opioids across the US, there simply isn’t enough help available. The federal government’s Opioid Commission is considered pretty much a “bust”, with lots of recommendations and few monetary resources to implement them. Many states are spending too much…

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Dr. Phil’s Addicted Guests Allegedly Exploited

Dr. Phil’s Addicted Guests Allegedly Exploited
Dr. Phil at the 1st Annual Merv Griffen/Beverly Hills Country Club Celebrity Tennis Classic to benefit ChildHelp USA, Beverly Hills Country Club, Beverly Hills, CA 09-21-02

A little over a week ago, revelations that Dr. Phil exploited people with addiction disorders made its way all over the news, shocking addiction recovery advocates and dismaying many of the treatment centers and interventionists he frequently works with when staging interventions. Several guests appearing on Phil McGraw’s talk show told of temptation in their green rooms, and drug offerings such as pills that "calm nerves," casting doubt on his good intentions. Guests that have appeared on his show are often left without a support system in place as they wait for their turn on the recorded show. For some, this means they are required to “detox” alone in a hotel room, without medical intervention, for up to 48 hours. By the time they arrive at the studio, many of them are physically and emotionally exhausted. Experts say that this is because the show has partnerships with treatment centers in other states, who are not licensed to provide assistance in the state where Dr. Phil's show is taped for…

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Sublocade, New Med FDA-Approved for Opioid Abuse Disorder

Last week, the FDA announced approval of a once-a-month drug, Sublocade, for individuals with an opioid use disorder who need drug-assisted treatment to get and stay clean. For people suffering from the opiate-related disorders, there are just a few options for drug-related therapy to help them reduce cravings and stay clean. Suboxone and methadone have been the most available forms, but each has its drawbacks, including the fact that methadone is regulated in a way that means it must usually be dispensed just a dosage at a time. Missing a dosage can cause awful withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Even something as simple as inclement weather such as snow can make it difficult for drug treatment clients to get the medication they need. Suboxone has become popular because it has fewer drawbacks, with one of the main complaints being that a person prescribed the pill must be consistent with its dosage, taking it once a day, at the same time every day. This is why Sublocade, just approved by the…

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Insurance Giant Cigna to Halt Coverage for Oxycontin

Cigna health insurance, the fourth largest insurer in the US company with over 11,400,000 members, has taken what is seen as a drastic step in the fight against opioid addiction. Effective in January, the insurance giant will effectively stop covering the cost of use of the opioid OxyContin. While many in the addiction treatment profession have lauded this change, it’s important to look more carefully at what’s really going on. At the same time that Cigna announced they would no longer be providing coverage for Oxycontin, the company also announced a contract to continue covering a competing oxycodone alternative by the name of Xtampza ER. The contract includes a financial penalty on that drug's maker if Cigna discovers the drug is overprescribed or there are other patterns indicating the drug has become a drug of abuse. Because of this stipulation, the manufacturer also has more motivation to monitor sales and look for areas of abuse and high prescription rates. Cigna's announcement comes just a year after the insurer said…

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Addiction Treatment Under AHCA

Five hundred thousand Americans have died from opioid addiction in the last 15 years According the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The amount of deaths is four times that of the previous fifteen years. This an American crisis of addiction to opioids and the problem is only getting worse.  Because of this increase in use of opioids the issue has made it's way into the forefront of American policy. Financial Dilemma Meanwhile, with the growing number of addicts, the availability of resources for recovery become less attainable and more costly. This creates a new financial dilemma that is hanging over the heads of the addicts in our communities and puts  pressure onto the policy makers in government. Lack of Coverage The severity of these issues then brings into question the Trump Era’s health care policies and his team’s ability to confront this epidemic. The forecast is grim considering this new administration’s policy towards the healthcare of Americans. There is a substantial lack of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and…

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Pros and Cons of Bunavail Approved by FDA

Pros  Twice the bioavailability of Suboxone  Promising alternative to methadone  Treatment includes psychiatric therapy Cons Causes respiratory issues Can cause death Bio Delivery Sciences International’s new drug application has reached the final phase of approval by the FDA. Their supplemental application (sNDA) for Bunavail can step out of the management phase for opioid addiction patients and begin the use of the drug for treatment of opioid addiction. Bunavail has twice the bioavailability of Suboxone film, which has increased it’s marketability ten fold and and therefore an attractive alternative for bottom line of the manufactures.   Bioavailability -  the proportion of a drug or other substance that enters the circulation when introduced into the body. When a drug is injected it has 100% bioavailability. Other means of administration have less than 100% bioavailability such as oral methods. Bunavail will be administered to patients that are just beginning recovery from opioid dependency. This is a major step in the right direction for the addicts who seek a break from dependency that may…

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Narcan (Naloxone) Becoming a Life Saving Option for Police to Use

While calling Narcan (the brand name for active ingredient naloxone) an “antidote” to heroin isn’t quite accurate, the reality that the drug can be dispensed via a nasal spray in order to revive a drug user who is dying of overdose certainly give the impression that it is a miracle elixir out of a movie. Recent articles from The Greenville Sun and and the Idaho Press highlight how police officers in Tusculum (Tennessee) and Nampa (Idaho) have been trained in administering the potentially life saving concoction. This is emblematic of the full blown health crisis that opiate addiction and overdose now represents in the United States. The United states contains 5% of the total world population yet consumes 80% of the world’s narcotic medications. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has gone on record as describing the opiate addiction and overdose epidemic as a “full blown health crisis."

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New Oxy Guidelines For Kids Alarm Lawmakers, But Drs. Say They’re Needed

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision last August to officially approve use and set guidelines for the use of Oxycontin, for certain children as young as 11 has triggered a huge debate among lawmakers, health care professionals, and parents about whether or not the drug is appropriate for treating pain in people under the age of 18. The new guidelines do not “legalize” Oxycontin, per se – prescription opiates have been prescribed for years off-label – but this is the first time there have been recommended guidelines for doctors to prescribe the powerful drug to children suffering from certain conditions that cause chronic pain. Some elected officials, as well as candidates running for office including Hillary Clinton, have echoed sentiments of addiction specialists who say the new guidelines will encourage doctors to expand access to a drug at the center of an epidemic of opiate abuse in the U.S. that was responsible for over 24,000 overdose deaths in 2013. They say health care providers need to focus on alternative…

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Does Narcan Offer Opiate Users A False Sense Of Security?

At least 17 states in America, as well as first responders in the District of Columbia, have been trained to publicly administer the heroin overdose antidote called Narcan, and at least 10 states allow for prescriptions to family or friends of drug users who worry that they will lose their loved one to addiction. While the drug has saved an estimated 10,000 lives, many officials are wary of its use, saying that an increase in its availability is causing public health problems. Officials in New Castle, Pennsylvania say the drug is giving users a false sense of, giving them the confidence to engage in more risky behavior with the belief that when they overdose, they'll be brought back from death. While inarguably, the drug, recently approved for first responders in New Castle, saves lives. But the city has also seen its share of “repeat offenders” – drug addicts that overdose on opiates multiple times in a week, and sometimes, more than one time a day, causing concern and frustration…

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