Study Seeks Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction
March 8, 2007
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has launched
what's being called the first large-scale national study
aimed at developing treatments for addiction to
prescription pain medications like OxyContin and Vicodin.
Prescription Opiate Addiction Treatment Study will
test the effectiveness of Suboxone, a buprenorphine/naloxone
mix designed to reduce drug craving while minimizing the
risk of diversion and abuse. The study will measure
outcomes among groups of users taking Suboxone alongside
a variety of counseling-based interventions. Some
subjects will receive brief interventions from their
doctors, while others will be enrolled in intensive,
individualized counseling programs.
The study is billed as a response to
the growing problem of addiction to prescription
opiate-based pain medications; NIDA noted that more
Americans are becoming abusers of such drugs than are
taking up marijuana use, and current nonmedical users of
prescription drugs surpass the numbers of cocaine,
heroin, hallucinogen, and inhalant users combined.
NIDA expects to enroll about 648
patients in 100 sites for the study.
"This study is important because most
of the research to date has been done on treatment for
those addicted to heroin, not prescription pain
medications," said Roger Weiss, M.D., clinical director
of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center at McLean
Hospital in Massachusetts, and lead investigator for the
study. "It also isn't clear whether people who started
taking these medications for legitimate reasons will
respond to the same treatment in the same way as those
who use pain medications solely on an illicit basis."