Saturday, 8 December 2007

The End of Opiate Addiction?

Non Addictive Opiates.

Daksya commented on an article I wrote and pointed me towards some incredible news. 

A company called Pain Therapeutics has conducted Phase III clinical trials with their product OxyTrex which is Oxycodone + naltrexone. This new product is basically Oxycodone with no addiction. UNBELIEVABLE?

You can read this article here: Using opiates without worry of tolerance or withdrawal

In what could possibly be the biggest advance related to opiates in the last 30-40 years, it has been shown that taking an ultra-low dose (0.5-1 microgram) of an opioid antagonist (like naltrexone) alongwith an opiate (heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone..) prevents the tolerance (requirement of increasing doses to maintain effect) and the withdrawal that typically occurs after abruptly stopping prolonged use. 

Pushing the study even further, researcher Jonathan Ott, did a trial involving himself where he took large doses(200mg x 4 times daily) of codeine mixed with a small amount of naltrexone. Abruptly stopping months of taking this highly addictive opiate mixture, he found that he had no dependancy or any withdrawal symptoms at all. Basically the naltrexone stopped the opiates to be addictive.

This is mind boggling. Imagine that soon, all opiate pain killers can be non addictive. This would be the end to the oxycodone problem. This would be the end of morphine, codeine, pathadiene etc. patients getting addicted.

The big question now is what about existing addicts? Imagine what could happen with addiction maintenance for current addicts. There’s a but though. The article points out:

The Ott study is important because he tackles the aspect of euphoria in humans, which is unlikely to be tackled by government or industry, and who would have, or still may, point blank claim that this method is not suitable for treating street addicts, or "worse", not an argument for considering regulated opiate availability. He confirms that analgesia and euphoria are retained. Most dramatic is the observation that he was able to induce euphoric effects out of 96 mg codeine (+ naltrexone), which had been true for him, 30 years prior when he first took opiates, but not since, due to tolerance.

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