Slow-release oral morphine could expand options for treating opioid abuse

December 25, 2017, American College of Physicians
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Slow-release oral Morphine (SROM) has emerged as a promising candidate for oral opioid agonist therapy. However, more research is needed before it can be incorporated into U.S. treatment guidelines. A commentary from the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

With more Americans dying from accidental opioid-related overdoses than from and homicides combined, it is clear that evidence-based solutions are urgently needed. Despite the proven benefits of opioid agonist therapy with buprenorphine or , several health system and to this treatment persist throughout North America. In addition, buprenorphine and methadone may not be effective for all patients. These barriers have resulted in a large unmet treatment need, leaving an estimated gap of up to one million persons with untreated opioid use disorder, who continue to be at risk for overdose death and other negative health and social outcomes.

Existing studies suggest that SROM has comparable efficacy to methadone and is well-tolerated by patients, with a lower risk for drug-drug interactions. SROM-based oral opioid agonist therapy is increasingly and successfully used in several European countries and Canada, but more research is needed before it can be determined how SROM could be used in the United States.

The authors suggest that the U.S. must also address the regulatory burdens that create barriers to treatment. The Canadian model, in which methadone is dispensed through daily witnessed ingestion in community-based pharmacies could be adapted in this country, which could help to overcome current gaps.

Explore further: Medicaid coverage for methadone improves treatment for opioid use disorder in pregnancy

More information: Annals of Internal Medicine (2017). http://annals.org/aim/article/doi/10.7326/M17-2373

Related Stories

Medicaid coverage for methadone improves treatment for opioid use disorder in pregnancy

November 14, 2017
Pregnant women with opioid use disorder (OUD) are more likely to receive evidence-based treatment with an "opioid agonist"—usually methadone—in states where those medications are covered by Medicaid, reports a study in ...

Study examines opioid agonist therapy use in Medicare patients

July 20, 2016
Few Medicare enrollees appear to be receiving buprenorphine-naloxone, the only opioid agonist therapy for opioid addiction available through Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, according to a study published online ...

For opiate addiction, study finds drug-assisted treatment is more effective than detox

November 23, 2017
Say you're a publicly insured Californian with an addiction to heroin, fentanyl or prescription narcotics, and you want to quit.

Methadone increases death risk in first four weeks of treatment for opioid dependence

September 16, 2015
Patients who start treatment for dependence on opioids are five times as likely to die in the first four weeks when they are prescribed the most commonly used treatment, methadone, than with an alternative treatment, buprenorphine, ...

Opportunities for addiction care and HIV prevention in Russia

January 23, 2017
Opioid agonist therapy using methadone is regarded as one of the most effective treatments for opioid use disorders as well as helping to reduce HIV risks. Such therapy, however, is not yet available in Russia.

Opioid crisis: Criminal justice referrals miss treatment opportunities, study suggests

December 4, 2017
A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that under 5 percent of those referred for opioid treatment from the criminal justice system were directed to medication-assisted programs ...

Recommended for you

Novel botulinum toxin compound relieves chronic pain

July 18, 2018
A modified form of botulinum toxin gives long-lasting pain relief in mice without adverse effects and, in time, could replace opioid drugs as a safe and effective way of treating chronic pain, according to research by UCL, ...

FDA recalls heart medication valsartan, citing cancer concerns

July 17, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a voluntary recall of several medications that contain the active ingredient valsartan, which is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

Opioids given too easily to children: study

July 16, 2018
(HealthDay)—Many children are prescribed powerful opioid painkillers they don't really need, putting them and those around them at risk, a new study shows.

Study reveals opioid patients face multiple barriers to treatment

July 12, 2018
In areas of the country disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis, treatment programs are less likely to accept patients paying through insurance of any type or accept pregnant women, a new Vanderbilt study found.

Report details possible conflict of interest issues for FDA advisors

July 6, 2018
Charles Piller, a contributing correspondent for the journal Science, has published a Feature piece in the journal detailing what he describes as possible conflicts of interest issues by people who serve as advisors to the ...

Opioid epidemic responses overlook gender

July 5, 2018
Yale health experts warn that current efforts to confront the growth of opioid addiction and overdose deaths must better incorporate an understanding of how women fit into this epidemic.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.