Friday, December 28, 2012

Top Ten Brain Posts 2012: #4 Naltrexone Polydrug Abuse

A significant clinical challenge in the treatment of drug dependence is the common abuse of multiple classes of drugs.  Targeting one specific class of drugs with a pharmacologic intervention may do little to reduce cravings and use of drugs in other classes.

The number four ranked Brain Post in 2012 suggests naltrexone implants may be effective in reducing use of both opiates and stimulants.

One hundred opiate and stimulant abusers participated in a randomized controlled trial research study.  This study used an implantable form of the drug that reduces problems with compliance.

Implantable naltrexone proved superior to placebo implants in study retention (52% vs 28%), proportion of drug free urine samples (38% vs 16%) and clinician rated proportion with good outcomes (56% vs 14%).

This study provides hope for an pharmacologic intervention to be added to standard substance abuse treatment in those with polydrug abuse.

Photo of Christmas ornament angel from the author's files. 

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