Could Naltrexone Be Used to Treat Pregnant Women with Opioid Addiction?


Of the three medications currently approved to treat opioid addiction, the long-acting antagonist naltrexone, which blocks opioids from attaching to the mu-opioid receptor, is the newest and the least studied. The research gap is closing, however: A recent study published in Lancet found that extended-release naltrexone was equally effective at reducing illicit opioid use as the partial agonist buprenorphine if patients could be successfully initiated on naltrexone. Initiation requires detoxification from opioids first (since naltrexone elicits withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent users), which can be an impediment for some patients. Still, this finding pointed to the promise of naltrexone as an effective treatment approach, as well as the need for research on how to overcome the “detox hurdle” when using an antagonist medication to treat opioid use disorder. As naltrexone becomes more widely used in the treatment of opioid use disorders, we need to learn more about whether it could be safe...

Continue reading
  1744 Hits