Oral naltrexone's effectiveness as an opioid antagonist has been limited due to poor patient adherence. A long-acting naltrexone formulation may be beneficial. This study evaluated the effects of extended-release injectable naltrexone (XR-NTX), targeted for a one-month duration of action, in blocking opioid agonist challenge effects in humans.
Outpatient non-dependent opioid abusers (N=27) were randomly assigned to a single double-blind IM administration of 75, 150, or 300 mg XR-NTX. To assess the extent of opioid blockade, hydromorphone challenges (0, 3, 4.5, 6 mg IM in ascending order at 1-h intervals [up to 13.5 mg total]) were given at pretreatment baseline and on days 7, 14, 21, 28, 42, and 56. Opioid blockade was assessed via (1) tolerability of the ascending hydromorphone doses; (2) visual analog scale (VAS) ratings of subjective opioid effects and (3) pupil diameter. Effects on the VAS and pupils were assessed via the slope of the time-action function over ascending hydromorphone doses, with zero slope indicating complete blockade.
Blockade of the VAS "any drug effect" response to 3 mg hydromorphone was complete for 14, 21, and 28 days, respectively, for the XR-NTX doses of 75, 150, and 300 mg. Subjective effects were more readily blocked than was pupil constriction. Higher hydromorphone doses produced only modest increases in agonist effects. With the 300 mg XR-NTX dose the slope of VAS responses remained at or near zero for one month even with maximal cumulative hydromorphone dosing.
These data quantify the month-long opioid blockade underlying XR-NTX's efficacy in opioid dependence treatment.
"The addition of a single injection of long-acting naltrexone at the outset of treatment was an effort to raise that ceiling and improve long-term retention on oral naltrexone. Since this study was conducted, injection naltrexone (Vivitrol) was approved by the FDA, having very similar pharmacokinetics to the Depotrex used in this study, including blood levels and opioid blockade (Comer et al., 2006; Bigelow et al., 2012). Vivitrol is an expensive medication, and the present results do suggest that transition to oral naltrexone may be a viable option for some patients. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Sustained release technologies for administering the opioid antagonist naltrexone (SRX) have the potential to assist opioid-addicted patients in their efforts to maintain abstinence from heroin and other opioid agonists. Recently, reliable SRX formulations in intramuscular or implantable polymers that release naltrexone for 1-7 months have become available for clinical use and - research. METHODS: This qualitative review of the literature provides an overview of the technologies currently available for sustained release naltrexone (SRX) and their effectiveness in reducing opioid use and other relevant outcomes. RESULTS: The majority of studies indicate that SRX is effective in reducing heroin use, and the most frequently studied SRX formulations have acceptable adverse events profiles. Registry data indicate a protective effect of SRX on mortality and morbidity. In some studies, SRX also seems to affect other outcomes like concomitant substance use, vocational training attendance, needle use, and risk behaviour for blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis or HIV. There is a general need for more controlled studies, in particular comparing SRX with agonist maintenance treatment, combinations of SRX with behavioural interventions, and with at-risk groups like prison inmates or opioid addicted pregnant patients. CONCLUSION: The literature suggests that sustained release naltrexone is a feasible, safe and effective option for assisting abstinence efforts in opioid addiction.
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 10/2012; 77(2). DOI:10.1111/bcp.12011 · 3.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Naltrexone is a μ-opioid receptor antagonist that blocks the euphoric effects of heroin and prescription opioids. In order to improve treatment adherence, a once-monthly, intramuscular, extended-release formulation of naltrexone (XR-NTX) [VIVITROL(®)] has been developed, and approved in the USA and Russia for the prevention of relapse to opioid dependence, after opioid detoxification. The clinical efficacy of this formulation in patients with opioid dependence was demonstrated in a 24-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre, phase III trial (ALK21-013; n = 250). In this trial, opioid-detoxified patients receiving XR-NTX 380 mg once every 4 weeks, in combination with psychosocial support, had a significantly higher median proportion of weeks of confirmed opioid abstinence during weeks 5-24, compared with those receiving placebo (primary endpoint). A significantly higher proportion of patients receiving XR-NTX achieved total confirmed abstinence during this period than those receiving placebo. XR-NTX was also associated with a significantly greater reduction in opioid craving and a significantly longer treatment retention period than placebo. XR-NTX was generally well tolerated in the phase III trial. The most common (incidence ≥5 %) treatment-emergent adverse events that also occurred more frequently with XR-NTX than with placebo were hepatic enzyme abnormalities, nasopharyngitis, insomnia, hypertension, influenza and injection-site pain. Thus, XR-NTX is a useful treatment option for the prevention of relapse to opioid dependence, following opioid detoxification.
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