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Sustained Release Naltrexone Effective, Safe for Opioid Users

Effective for decreasing heroin use, with tolerable adverse event profiles for common formulations

Sustained Release Naltrexone Effective, Safe for Opioid Users

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Sustained release technologies for administering the opioid antagonist naltrexone (SRX) seem to be effective with an acceptable adverse event profile, according to a review published online Oct. 22 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Nikolaj Kunøe, Ph.D., from the University of Oslo in Norway, and colleagues conducted a qualitative review of the literature to provide an overview of the currently available technologies for SRX and their effectiveness in reducing opioid use.

The researchers found that the most frequently studied SRX formulations have tolerable adverse event profiles and that most studies suggest that SRX is effective at decreasing heroin use. SRX may have a protective effect on mortality and morbidity, based on registry data. In some studies, other outcomes, including concomitant substance use, vocational training attendance, needle use, and risk behavior for blood-borne diseases (including HIV and hepatitis), were also affected by SRX.

"SRX is showing promising, consistent effects in supporting opioid users' efforts to achieve abstinence across different clinical study design and treatment settings," the authors write. "The literature on SRX for opioid addiction still requires more studies in order to confirm initial findings on effects."

One author disclosed a financial tie to Go Medical Industries, which manufactures the Australian naltrexone implant.

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