The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 16, 2018 approved the use of first non-opioid drug to manage withdrawal symptoms in chronic opioid users. While the drug, Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride), can help alleviate the misery accompanying opioid withdrawal, experts say the medication may not deal with symptoms completely. Lucemyra is an oral, selective alpha 2-adrenergic receptor agonist that lowers the rate of release of norepinephrine, known to trigger withdrawal.
To treat patients of opioid use disorder (OUD), the FDA has approved the use of Lucemyra for up to 14 days. It also clarified that Lucemyra should not be viewed as a treatment for OUD, rather it should be used as an important part of a long-term treatment plan to manage opioid addiction. “As part of our commitment to support patients struggling with addiction, we’re dedicated to encouraging innovative approaches to help mitigate the physiological challenges presented when patients discontinue opioids,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. He said his agency was keen on defining new procedures to develop newer and effective ways to help manage opioid withdrawal symptoms.
According to the FDA, patients in the United Kingdom have been using Lucemyra to reduce withdrawal symptoms for more than two decades. In clinical trials of 866 adults with opioid addiction, those who took Lucemyra reported less severe withdrawals. The most common side effects of the drug included slow heart rate, sedation and dizziness.
The FDA requires 15 postmarketing studies, including both animals and human beings, to support long-term use that exceeds the current limit of 14 days. Moreover, the agency also needs to gather additional data on the effects of Lucemyra on liver and blood pressure after its discontinuation.
Leading a drug-free life
Against the backdrop of the deadly opioid crisis that has engulfed the nation, the most commonly reported opioid withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, difficulty in sleeping, chronic nausea, diarrhea, substance cravings, fatigue, and muscle ache. In such a situation where abrupt discontinuation of opioid can unleash misery on users, many are forced to develop physical dependence on the drug. Generally, patients with OUD are administered slow tapering amounts of opioid analgesics to ease the effects of withdrawal while allowing the body to cope with the absence of opioids in the system.
Studies show opioid withdrawal symptoms are observed in patients who have adhered to the prescribed dosage or those battling OUD. With millions of Americans finding themselves languishing in throes of addiction, the only way to embark on the road to sobriety is to undergo a customized addiction treatment program at a reputed drug abuse rehabilitation center to reverse the negative effects of addictive opioids.
Prescription opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone are highly addictive and have the potential to impact the physical and emotional health of users adversely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 46 people die from overdoses involving prescription opioids every day. The CDC data also shows that overdose deaths were five times higher in 2016 than 1999. Nevertheless, the need of the hour is to expand the access to time-tested professional treatment, such as alternative therapies or non-opioid treatments to combat addiction. When wondering where to start with to find help for addiction to oxycodone or any other opioid, one needn’t look further than Sovereign Health to avail the latest treatment options at its advanced oxycodone addiction treatment centers. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online for more information about our residential oxycodone addiction treatment centers.