10/14/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, US // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

West Palm Beach, FL—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has OK’d use of a non-opioid drug that appears promising in the field of heroine and narcotic addiction treatment. With approximately 810,000 Americans addicted to heroine and another 1.85 million addicted to opioid painkillers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, newly approved Vivitrol may help users get clean, and stay clean, according to an October 13, 2010 USA Today report.

According to information provided, Vivitrol is a long-lasting type of naltrexone, a substance intended to block opioids. While a single injection of the treatment drug costs a whopping $1,100, a recent study suggests the benefits may be worth it.

The FDA approved Vivitrol for use in the treatment of alcohol addition in 2006. Given that Russia remains the only other country to approve the drug for such use, a study involving 250 patients was conducted there.

There are two other drugs used in the treatment of narcotic and opioid addictions, methadone and bupenorphrine (Suboxone).

According to Nora Volkow, director of the drug abuse institute, “There are many treatment programs that really oppose using methadone and bupenorphrine … I predict that naltrexone may be acceptable.” Russia reportedly refused to approve those drugs for addiction treatment.

In the Russian study, 70 percent of patients who were administered six monthly shots of Vivitrol, as opposed to a placebo, did not relapse. Patients who received the Vivitrol were apparently twice as likely to stop using narcotics then those given the placebo.

“I was concerned that the patients would not go back for their monthly injections, but they did, which was surprising,” said Volkow, noting that the drug appeared to lessen cravings for narcotics.

Westborough, Mass. resident and former heroine addict, T.J. Voller, 29, apparently found a doctor who agreed to treat him with Vivitrol. Voller tried bupenorphrine before, but claimed it had an infrequent success rate.

Voller was administered eight monthly injections of Vivitrol and alleged, “It takes the cravings away… I’ve had (heroine) in front of my face and haven’t had the urge to do it. It shocked the hell out of me.” Voller is now employed and attends college.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan.

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