Alcoholism drug may help heroin addicts, too
Cambridge biotech company Alkermes Inc. said its drug Vivitrol, which is used to help alcoholics quit drinking, may also help opioid addicts kick their habits.
A recent late-stage clinical trial of the non-narcotic, non-addictive injectible form of naltrexonev showed that opioid addicts who took the drug once a month were more likely to stay off drugs than others who received a placebo. The study also showed that patients who took the drug had reduced cravings.
Earlier this month, state Sen. Steven Tolman (D-Boston) said Massachusetts is in the throes of a heroin and OxyContin “epidemic.” Tolman, who headed a special state commission, pointed out that more Americans have died of opiate-related overdoses between 2002 and 2007 than have perished in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Alkermes’ Vivitrol study included 250 people who were addicted to opioids, including heroin. Before participating, they had to stay off drugs for at least a week.
In the six-month test, the patients took urine tests once a week. Alkermes said at least half of the 250 subjects were clean in at least 90 percent of their drug tests. Alkermes said it will seek regulatory approval for Vivitrol in the first half of 2010.
By Christine McConville
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Vivitrol has been mentioned quite a few times here.