New drug to help addicts headed to market

Published 3:27 am Saturday, May 19, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, approved the first nonopioid treatment to ease withdrawal from addictive opioids, and local pharmacist David Darby says that it may help with the opioid epidemic.

“It is going to be used as a two week treatment,” Darby said. “But most of the people taking this medicine will have to want to get off of the drugs they are on.”

The drug, Lucemyra, will help with common withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and agitation.

“This won’t help with the actual addiction to an opioid,” Darby said. “But it should help with the withdrawal symptoms.”

According to the FDA, the fear of experiencing withdrawal symptoms often prevents those suffering from opioid addiction from seeking help.

People going through detox are usually given a safer opioid medicine, like Suboxone, which eases the cravings without an intense high.

“Doctors usually prescribe Suboxone,” Darby said. “But now we are seeing people getting addicted to that medicine because they are abusing it.”

Darby said that Suboxone is not suppose to induce a “high,” but when people abuse it they can get that feeling.

“Hopefully this will become a substitute for Suboxone,” Darby said. “But Suboxone is also used to treat addiction and Lucemyra will not.”

Darby said that the medicine is not on the market yet, but he expects to order it.

“It is probably going to be super expensive,” Darby said. “But we will probably carry it.”

He expects that general practice doctors will not prescribe it, but specially trained doctors will.

“I think a lot of the specially trained doctors in addiction treatment will be more likely the ones to prescribe this medicine,” Darby said.

According to the FDA, side effects to Lucemyra include low blood pressure, dizziness, sleepiness, slow heart rate and in a few people, fainting.

The FDA is requiring the drugmaker, U.S. WorldMeds of Louisville, Ky., to conduct more studies in teens and newborns of opioid-addicted mothers and for possible longer-term use in people tapering off opioids.