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

Risks to babies of mothers with HIV from three antiretroviral regimens appear to be low

April 25, 2018
The risk for preterm birth and early infant death is similar for three antiretroviral drug regimens taken by pregnant women with HIV according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

New method allows scientists to study how HIV persists

April 24, 2018
After 35 years of rigorous research, there is still no cure for HIV. Current drugs can be used to halt the infection, but fall short of reaching hidden reserves of dormant virus that can lurk for life within infected white ...

HIV-1 viruses transmitted at birth are resistant to antibodies in mother's blood

April 19, 2018
Of the genetically diverse population of HIV-1 viruses present in an infected pregnant woman, the few she might transmit to her child during delivery are resistant to attack by antibodies in her blood, according to new research ...

Top HIV cure research team refutes major recent results on how to identify HIV persistence

April 18, 2018
An international team focused on HIV cure research spearheaded by The Wistar Institute in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania and Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) in Barcelona, Spain, established that ...

Scientists discover new way that HIV evades the immune system

April 17, 2018
Scientists have just discovered a new mechanism by which HIV evades the immune system, and which shows precisely how the virus avoids elimination. The new research shows that HIV targets and disables a pathway involving a ...

Team develops new way to fight HIV transmission

April 16, 2018
Scientists at the University of Waterloo have developed a new tool to protect women from HIV infection.

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.