Opioid addiction treatment drug helps suppress HIV in former prisoners

April 13, 2018 by Ziba Kashef, Yale University

When individuals with HIV are released from prison, they have difficulty obtaining care and are often unable to adhere to their HIV medications and maintain viral suppression. Relapse to opioid use often occurs quickly after release from prison or jail and interferes with HIV treatment adherence. Medications that are effective in reducing relapse to opioid use are rarely started prior to release.

According to a new study, an FDA-approved medication for opioid addiction—extended-release naltrexone—has now been shown to also help maintain or improve HIV viral suppression among HIV-positive released from prison and jail who are on HIV and have a history of opioid use disorder.

To determine whether extended-release naltrexone was associated with HIV viral suppression, lead author Sandra Ann Springer, M.D. and her research team conducted an NIH-funded, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial in the state of Connecticut. Incarcerated individuals who had both HIV and opioid use disorder were given either the drug or a placebo during their transition back to their communities. After six months, the researchers found that a greater proportion of individuals treated with extended-release naltrexone either maintained or improved their viral suppression as compared to the .

To the researchers' knowledge, this is the first study to show that opioid medication treatment can improve HIV suppression among released prisoners and jail detainees. The findings, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, should inform guidelines for treating prisoners with HIV and addiction. The treatment is both safe and effective, the researcher said.

Explore further: Extended-release naltrexone promising for opioid dependence

More information: Sandra A. Springer et al. Extended-Release Naltrexone Improves Viral Suppression Among Incarcerated Persons Living With HIV With Opioid Use Disorders Transitioning to the Community, JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (2018). DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001634

Related Stories

Extended-release naltrexone promising for opioid dependence

October 19, 2017
(HealthDay)—Extended-release naltrexone is noninferior to buprenorphine-naloxone for maintaining short-term abstinence from heroin and other illicit substances, according to a study published online Oct. 18 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Opioid relapse rates fall after jail release, according to pilot study

April 14, 2015
It has been called a pioneering strategy for treating opioid addiction, and has already been adopted in a small yet growing number of jails and prisons in the United States. Now, a clinical trial published in the journal ...

Clinical trial looks at tramadol for opioid withdrawal

July 12, 2017
A randomized clinical trial published by JAMA Psychiatry compared tramadol extended-release with clonidine and buprenorphine for the management of opioid withdrawal symptoms in patients with opioid use disorder in a residential ...

Prison treatment program helps lower overdose deaths

April 9, 2018
An expanded program to treat prisoners for opioid addiction helped lower the number of accidental drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island in 2017 after years of steady increases, state health officials said.

Long-acting treatment for opioid addiction reduced risk of relapse

March 30, 2016
In a multicenter, randomized clinical trial, ex-prisoners who received six monthly injections of naltrexone—a long-acting medication that blocks opioid receptors in the brain—were significantly less likely to resume opioid ...

US and Norwegian trials compare treatment options for opioid dependence

December 6, 2017
The current opioid epidemic is destroying lives, families, and communities. Medication is widely considered to be the most effective treatment, but far too few people who could benefit are actually treated.

Recommended for you

Study shows how HIV is shielded from immune attack

July 10, 2018
Scientists from UNSW Sydney and the UK have discovered that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) hijacks a small molecule from the host cell to protect itself from being destroyed by the host's immune system.

Out-of-pocket costs put HIV prevention drug out of reach for many at risk

July 4, 2018
Public health officials are expanding efforts to get the HIV prevention pill into the hands of those at risk, in a nationwide effort to curb infections. But the officials are hitting roadblocks—the drug's price tag, which ...

New simulation tool predicts how well HIV-prophylaxis will work

June 14, 2018
A new mathematical simulation approach predicts the efficacy of pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications, which help prevent HIV infection. The framework, presented in PLOS Computational Biology by Sulav Duwal ...

Many at risk for HIV despite lifesaving pill

June 11, 2018
Multiple barriers may stop high-risk individuals from accessing an HIV drug that can reduce the subsequent risk of infection, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Active HIV in large white blood cells may drive cognitive impairment in infected mice

June 7, 2018
Macrophages, large white blood cells that engulf and destroy potential pathogens, harbor active viral reserves that appear to play a key role in impaired learning and memory in mice infected with a rodent version of HIV. ...

HIV vaccine elicits antibodies in animals that neutralize dozens of HIV strains

June 4, 2018
An experimental vaccine regimen based on the structure of a vulnerable site on HIV elicited antibodies in mice, guinea pigs and monkeys that neutralize dozens of HIV strains from around the world. The findings were reported ...

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.