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Current Opioids News and Events, Opioids News Articles.
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State policies can influence access to heroin treatment, study finds
Abuse of heroin and prescription opioid drugs is growing rapidly, creating a need for more treatment options. A new study finds that state policies can influence the number of physicians licensed to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug that can treat addiction to heroin and other opioids in outpatient settings. (2014-10-07)

Oxycodone may be more dangerous than other addictive pain medication
While all prescription opioids can be abused, oxycodone may be more potent in its ability to promote changes in the brain relevant to addiction. (2014-10-06)

AAN: Risks of opioids outweigh benefits for headache, low back pain, other conditions
According to a new position statement from the American Academy of Neurology, the risk of death, overdose, addiction or serious side effects with prescription opioids outweigh the benefits in chronic, non-cancer conditions such as headache, fibromyalgia and chronic low back pain. The position paper is published in the Sept. 30, 2014, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. (2014-09-29)

NIH Pathways to Prevention Workshop: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain
The National Institutes of Health is convening a Pathways to Prevention workshop to assess the available scientific evidence on the long-term effectiveness and potential risks of opioids for treating chronic pain. Participants will be among the nation's top experts in the field of pain control and management from around the country, as well as key NIH scientists who focus on pain related research. An impartial, independent panel will identify research gaps and future research priorities. (2014-09-23)

Researchers studying improving physician opioid prescribing
Boston University School of Medicine researcher Dr. Jeffrey Samet and Dr. Carlos Del Rio from Emory University were recently awarded a five year, $5 million grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse for their project titled: Improving Physician Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain in HIV-infected Persons. (2014-09-16)

IU study: Combining epilepsy drug, morphine can result in less pain, lower opioid doses
Adding a common epilepsy drug to a morphine regimen can result in better pain control with fewer side effects. Moreover, the combination can reduce the dosage of the opioid needed to be effective, according to a team of pain researchers at Indiana University. (2014-09-15)

High-dose opioid prescribing continues to climb
High-dose opioid prescribing increased by 23 percent in Canada between 2006 and 2011, despite clinical guidelines recommending that most patients should avoid high-doses of these drugs, according to new research. (2014-09-12)

Antidepressants show potential for postoperative pain
Anesthesiologists at Queen's examine studies where antidepressants were prescribed for pain after surgery. (2014-08-29)

Methadone treatment suppresses testosterone in opioid addicts
The study found men using methadone, which is used for opioid addiction treatment, have significantly suppressed testosterone levels of about a quarter of the testosterone of men not using opioids. In women using methadone for addiction treatment, testosterone levels were not significantly impacted, even considering the menstrual cycle. Treating testosterone deficiency will improve outcomes of methadone treatment for patients. (2014-08-26)

Study shows 25 percent fewer opioid-related deaths in states allowing medical marijuana
On average, states allowing the medical use of marijuana have lower rates of deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses than states without such laws. A new multi-institutional study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine and led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, shows that on average, the 13 states allowing the use of medical marijuana had a 24.8 percent lower annual opioid overdose mortality rate after the laws were enacted than states without the laws. (2014-08-25)

Stanford bioengineers close to brewing opioid painkillers without using opium from poppies
Stanford Bioengineer Christina Smolke is just a couple of steps away from perfecting a process that uses genetically engineering yeast cells to replicate the entire opioid production process, eliminating the need to grow poppies. Her ultimate goal is to produce opioid medicines, from start to finish, in fermentation vats. 'We are now very close,' she says. (2014-08-24)

In-utero methadone, subutex exposure could alter gene expression, cause severe neonatal abstience syndrome
Some infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome secondary to in-utero opioid exposure have a more difficult time going through withdrawal than others, but the underlying reasons are not well understood. While genetic and epigenetic (when genes are turned on or off) changes have recently been identified as potential factors, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center conducted a first of its kind study to identify some of these epigenetic changes that may influence symptom severity. (2014-08-19)

Opioid users breathe easier with novel drug to treat respiratory depression
People taking prescription opioids to treat moderate to severe pain may be able to breathe a little easier, literally. A study published in the September issue of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), found that a new therapeutic drug, GAL-021, may reverse or prevent respiratory depression, or inadequate breathing, in patients taking opioid medication without compromising pain relief or increasing sedation. (2014-08-19)

High prevalence of opioid use by Social Security disability recipients, reports Medical Care
More than 40 percent of Social Security Disability Insurance recipients take opioid pain relievers, while the prevalence of chronic opioid use is over 20 percent and rising, reports a study in the September issue of Medical Care. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health. (2014-08-14)

Kentucky professor develops new tool to prevent heroin deaths
A new, lifesaving product aimed at reducing the death toll from heroin abuse -- developed by a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy -- is in its final round of clinical trials and has received Fast Track designation by the Food and Drug Administration. The product, a nasal spray application of the anti-opioid drug naloxone, was developed by Daniel Wermeling, a professor of pharmacy practice and science. (2014-08-07)

Brief counseling for drug use doesn't work, BU study finds
In an effort to stem substance use, the US has invested heavily in the past decade in a brief screening-and-intervention protocol for alcohol and other drugs. (2014-08-05)

Promising medication counteracts constipation caused by opioid painkillers
Opioids -- strong morphine-based painkillers -- are widely prescribed to patients experiencing chronic severe pain. While these drugs are very effective for treating and managing pain, they have one particularly bothersome side effect: constipation. A new drug, called naloxegol, could bring relief. In stage 3 trials reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, KU Leuven and international researchers provide new evidence that the drug relieves constipation without dulling opioids' pain-relieving effects. (2014-07-16)

Research letter examines reports of chronic pain, opioid use by US soldiers
In a survey of US soldiers returned from deployment, 44 percent reported chronic pain and 15.1 percent reported recent use of opioid pain relievers. (2014-06-30)

Death by prescription painkiller
The number of deaths involving commonly prescribed painkillers is higher than the number of deaths by overdose from heroin and cocaine combined, according to researchers at McGill University. In a first-of-its-kind review of existing research, the McGill team has put the spotlight on a major public health problem: the dramatic increase in deaths due to prescribed painkillers, which were involved in more than 16,000 deaths in 2010 in the US alone. (2014-06-17)

Opioid use prior to spine surgery linked to diminished patient reported outcomes
A new study appearing in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery links the use of opioid pain relievers (prescription medications, such as Percocet) to less improvement and higher levels of dissatisfaction following spine surgery. (2014-06-12)

Gauging local illicit drug use in real time could help police fight abuse
The war on drugs could get a boost with a new method that analyzes sewage to track levels of illicit drug use in local communities in real time. The new study, a first-of-its-kind in the US, was published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology and could help law enforcement identify new drug hot spots and monitor whether anti-drug measures are working. (2014-06-11)

Drug trial shows promise for treating constipation caused by pain medicines
Taking medicines for chronic pain can often lead to constipation, but a New England Journal of Medicine study shows a daily pill can get things moving again. (2014-06-04)

Marijuana shows potential in treating autoimmune disease
A team of University of South Carolina researchers have discovered a novel pathway through which marijuana can suppress the body's immune functions. The recent findings show that marijuana THC can change critical molecules of epigenome called histones, leading to suppression of inflammation. (2014-06-02)

Demographic of heroin users change in past 50 years
Heroin users nowadays are predominantly white men and women in their late 20s living outside large urban areas who were first introduced to opioids through prescription drugs compared to the 1960s when heroin users tended to be young urban men whose opioid abuse started with heroin. (2014-05-28)

HHS leaders call for expanded use of medications to combat opioid overdose epidemic
A national response to the epidemic of prescription opioid overdose deaths was outlined yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine by leaders of agencies in the US Department of Health and Human Services. The commentary calls upon health care providers to expand their use of medications to treat opioid addiction and reduce overdose deaths, and describes a number of misperceptions that have limited access to these potentially life-saving medications. (2014-04-24)

Report recommends insurers use prescription monitoring data to reduce opioid abuse, deaths
The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Center of Excellence at Brandeis University has issued a ground-breaking report recommending that medical insurers use prescription monitoring data to reduce the overdoses, deaths and health care costs associated with abuse of opioids and other prescription drugs. (2014-04-22)

NIH grant to further SLU research on link between prescription painkillers and depression
An epidemiologist explores which patients are more susceptible to depression. (2014-04-09)

Tested a drug that strengthens the analgesic effect of opioids without increasing constipation
Scientists from the University of Granada have taken part, alongside the Esteve laboratory, in the development of a new drug that multiplies the analgesic effect of opioids (drugs for treating intense pain), without increasing constipation, one of the most common side-effects of these drugs, among which is morphine. (2014-03-31)

Researchers find significant increase in painkillers prescribed to US adults in the ER
Researchers from George Washington University were published today in Academic Emergency Medicine for their paper, 'Rising Opioid Prescribing in Adult US Emergency Department Visits: 2001-2010.' (2014-03-14)

Repeat ED visits for opioid overdose raise risk of hospitalization, respiratory failure
Patients brought to hospital emergency departments more than once in a year for treatment of opioid drug overdoses are more likely to be hospitalized for overdose and to need respiratory support with a mechanical ventilator. (2014-03-11)

Prescriptions for opioids stabilizing after fivefold increase in 10-year span
To support the appropriate use of opioids and inform public health interventions to prevent drug abuse, most states have implemented a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health evaluated the impact of these state-wide programs and found that after tripling until 2007, annual rates of prescriptions for opioid analgesics have stabilized although the effects of PDMPs on opioid dispensing vary markedly by state. (2014-03-11)

Opioid prescribing patterns examined in related research letter, study
Most people who use opioid painkillers without a physician's prescription initially get them from friends or relatives for free, but as the number of days of use increase sources for the medications expand to include prescriptions from physicians and purchases from friends, relatives, drug dealers or strangers. (2014-03-03)

Photopharmacology: Optoswitches turn pain off and sight on
Photoreactive compounds developed by scientists of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich directly modulate nerve-cell function and open new routes to the treatment of neurological diseases, including chronic pain and certain types of visual impairment. (2014-02-26)

Opioid abuse initiates specific protein interactions in neurons in brain's reward system
Opiate abuse alter the activity of RGS9-2 protein needed for normal functioning of brain's reward system and unexpectedly also altered the threshold for pain relief and opioid tolerance. (2014-02-24)

Report reveals significant increase in overdoses involving heroin in Kentucky
Analysis by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center shows that emergency department overdose visits involving heroin climbed 197 percent, and heroin-related deaths climbed 207 percent in 2012, while benzodiazepines were associated with the highest number of emergency department visits and hospitalizations. Overall numbers of overdose leveled off from 2011 to 2012, and intent to self-harm remained the primary reason for hospitalization due to overdose. (2014-02-21)

Mind over matter: Beating pain and painkillers
Misuse of prescription opioids can lead to serious side effects -- including death by overdose. A new treatment developed by University of Utah researcher Eric Garland has shown to not only lower pain but also decrease prescription opioid misuse among chronic pain patients. (2014-02-04)

Opioid tolerance and pain hypersensitivity associated with mTOR activation
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Yuan-Xiang Tao and colleagues from the New Jersey Medical School at Rutgers University report that the protein mTOR, which is a global regulator of translation, plays a major role in morphine tolerance. (2014-01-02)

Pain drugs used in prostate gland removal linked to cancer outcome, Mayo Clinic-led study finds
The methods used to anesthetize prostate cancer patients and control pain when their prostate glands are surgically removed for adenocarcinoma may affect their long-term cancer outcomes, a study led by Mayo Clinic has found. (2013-12-17)

Study examines incidence, trend of substance use disorder among medical residents
Among anesthesiology residents entering primary training from 1975 to 2009, 0.86 percent had a confirmed substance use disorder during training, with the incidence of this disorder increasing over the study period and the risk of relapse high, according to a study appearing in the Dec. 4 issue of JAMA, a medical education theme issue. (2013-12-03)

Prescription opioid abusers prefer to get high on oxycodone and hydrocodone
Prescription opioid abuse has reached epidemic levels in the past 15 years. Scientists investigating why people favor one drug over another have found that oxycodone and hydrocodone are the drugs of choice for 75 percent of opioid-dependent individuals. Their results show that oxycodone was the most popular drug overall because of the quality of the high. Nonetheless, hydrocodone remains one of the most popular primary drugs, even though it has lower euphoric qualities. (2013-12-02)

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