Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prescription Drug Addiction Is Under Investigation

Date:
April 19, 2007
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
A new study to evaluate treatments for addiction to prescription painkillers is being launched in California. This is the first large-scale study to assess whether addiction to opioid painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, can effectively be treated with drug treatments currently used for heroin addiction.

University of California is launching a new study to evaluate treatments for addiction to prescription painkillers and has openings for patients to enroll.

This is the first large-scale study to assess whether addiction to opioid painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, can effectively be treated with drug treatments currently used for heroin addiction.

The study is part of a national effort involving 11 clinical research centers to evaluate such therapies. Known as the Prescription Opiate Addiction Treatment Study, or POATS, it is being led by the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network, under the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). UCSF is the only study site in Northern California.

The research is in response to the growing national problem of prescription drug abuse that has resulted in higher emergency room admissions and potentially devastating impacts on millions of Americans and their families, according to Stephen Dominy, MD, director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Addiction Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, who is co-leading the UCSF portion of the study.

"The abuse of prescription opiates has become a very serious problem in our society, but until now, there have been no large-scale studies to evaluate how to treat those addictions," Dominy said. "This study hopes to assess whether current opiate dependence therapies are effective, as well as the role of counseling in treatment outcomes."

An estimated 2.2 million Americans aged 12 or older start using prescription pain relievers each year for non-medical uses, surpassing the number of new marijuana users (2.1 million), according to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In that survey, more than 6 million Americans reported using prescription drugs for non-medical uses in the previous month, which is more than the number abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants, combined.

Those users, however, seem to fit a very different profile from traditional patients in heroin dependence programs, according to Yong Song, PhD, co-principal investigator for the UCSF site study and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry in the UCSF School of Medicine. These users tend to be younger, he said, with fewer other dependency issues, such as alcohol or cocaine, and often come from a middle-class background.

"Opiate addiction is well studied in heroin dependence, but very little is known about what treatments are effective with this group of people," Song said. "We think this is a different demographic, but it's not well studied. This trial will confirm whether they really do look different."

The study will test the effectiveness of buprenorphine/naloxone combination tablets, marketed as Suboxone, along with different models of drug counseling in patients addicted to prescription opioids.

Buprenorphine works by acting on the brain's own opiate receptors -- targets for heroin, morphine and prescription opioids -- to relieve drug cravings without prompting the same intense high or dangerous side effects. When combined with naloxone, buprenorphine's abuse potential is further limited, as those who try to inject it to get high experience severe withdrawal symptoms, while no adverse effects occur when it is taken orally, as prescribed. This combined medication has been approved for prescribing by specially trained physicians in office-based settings, greatly expanding the treatment options available for opiate addiction.

The multi-site study, which seeks to enroll 648 participants, will include people who take prescription drugs for chronic pain and have become addicted to them, as well as those who abuse painkillers for non-medical reasons. UCSF hopes to enroll 54 patients in its site study over the next 18 months.

Subjects enrolled in this study will be treated with the combined drug for one month, after which their dose will be tapered off as part of a detoxification process. If they remain abstinent for two months, they will complete the study. If they relapse and begin abusing prescription opiates again, they may be eligible to re-enter the treatment study.

In addition, to compare the effectiveness of different behavioral therapies in conjunction with the medication, half the subjects will be enrolled in an intensive individualized drug counseling program when they get their prescriptions. The other half will receive a brief drug counseling session from their doctors. Patients will receive all study treatments, including medications, without cost and also will be compensated for their time.

Other UCSF researchers involved in the study include James Sorensen, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of the California-Arizona Node of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network; Corinna Gamez, MD, assistant clinical professor, Department of Psychiatry; and Brad Shapiro, MD, assistant clinical professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine.

The multi-site trial is being funded by the NIDA Clinical Trials Network. Individuals interested in participating in this study should contact the UCSF POATS team at (415) 476-4047.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Prescription Drug Addiction Is Under Investigation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070418163701.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2007, April 19). Prescription Drug Addiction Is Under Investigation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070418163701.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Prescription Drug Addiction Is Under Investigation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070418163701.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins