Blood naltrexone levels over time following naltrexone implant

School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, QE II Medical Centre, D Block, Nedlands, Western Australia 6009, Australia.
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 3.69). 02/2008; 32(1):23-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2007.06.007
Source: PubMed


Oral naltrexone is used in the management of both heroin and alcohol dependence. However, poor compliance has limited its clinical utility. The study's objective was to determine the period of therapeutic coverage (>or=2 ng/ml) provided by a 3.3 g naltrexone subcutaneous implant compared with existing data on 1.1 g and 2.2 g implants.
We assessed free blood naltrexone levels following treatment with a 3.3 g naltrexone implant in heroin dependent patients (n=50) in Perth, Western Australia. Results were compared with previously collated data for patients treated with either a 1.1 g (n=10) or 2.2 g (n=24) implant.
Following 3.3 g naltrexone implant treatment, free blood naltrexone levels remained above 2 ng/ml for 145 days (95% CI 125-167). In comparison, 1.1 g or 2.2 g implant treatment resulted in 95 days (95% CI 69-121) and 136 days (95% CI 114-158) coverage, respectively.
The 3.3 g implant provides longer therapeutic coverage than the 1.1 g implant but not significantly longer than the 2.2 g implant.

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    • "Based on caecal period calculations, blood-naltrexone levels were sustained above 1 ng/ml, comparable to levels in humans, for a clinically comparable amount of time (>30 days in rat ≈ 5.5 months in humans). Moreover, the decline in naltrexone levels in maternal rat plasma was similar to the profiles in non-pregnant humans [10], [98] and a single case study of a pregnant woman [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Naltrexone is not recommended during pregnancy. However, sustained-release naltrexone implant use in humans has resulted in cases of inadvertent foetal exposure. Here, we used clinically relevant dosing to examine the effects of maternally administered sustained-release naltrexone on the rat brain by examining offspring at birth and in adulthood. Maternal treatment (naltrexone or placebo implant) started before conception and ceased during gestation, birth or weaning. Morphometry was assessed in offspring at birth and adulthood. Adult offspring were evaluated for differences in locomotor behaviour (basal and morphine-induced, 10 mg/kg, s.c.) and opioid neurochemistry, propensity to self-administer morphine and cue-induced drug-seeking after abstinence. Blood analysis confirmed offspring exposure to naltrexone during gestation, birth and weaning. Naltrexone exposure increased litter size and reduced offspring birth-weight but did not alter brain morphometry. Compared to placebo, basal motor activity of naltrexone-exposed adult offspring was lower, yet they showed enhanced development of psychomotor sensitization to morphine. Developmental naltrexone exposure was associated with resistance to morphine-induced down-regulation of striatal preproenkephalin mRNA expression in adulthood. Adult offspring also exhibited greater operant responding for morphine and, in addition, cue-induced drug-seeking was enhanced. Collectively, these data show pronounced effects of developmental naltrexone exposure, some of which persist into adulthood, highlighting the need for follow up of humans that were exposed to naltrexone in utero.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    • "The 1× drug level represents the typical serum concentration observed in drug abusers or the peak serum concentration after dosing by a healthcare professionals (Couper and Logan, 2004; Ferrari et al., 1998; Karch, 2001; Midazolam Hydrochloride [Package Insert] Lake Forest; Narcan (R) [Package Insert]. Chadds Ford; Ngo et al., 2008). All drugs in this assay were first tested for absorbance at 240 nm to assure that they would not interfere with the absorbance spectrum of cocaine (only diazepam absorbed at 240nm and was thus analyzed using LC-MS/MS (Figure 1B)). "
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    ABSTRACT: Cocaine toxicity is a prevalent problem in the Unites States for which there is currently no FDA-approved pharmacotherapy. We have developed a bacterial cocaine esterase (CocE) towards this indication. A thermostabilized mutant of CocE (DM-CocE) retains the hydrolytic activity of the wild-type esterase, rapidly hydrolyzing cocaine into the inactive metabolites ecgonine methyl ester and benzoic acid, and can prevent cocaine toxicities in rodent and non-human primate models. To advance DM-CocE towards clinical use, we examine here how the hydrolytic activity of DM-CocE is altered by some drugs commonly co-administered with cocaine. We employed a spectrophotometric cocaine hydrolysis assay to evaluate whether pharmacologically relevant doses of alcohol, nicotine, morphine, phencyclidine, ketamine, methamphetamine, naltrexone, naloxone, or midazolam would alter the Michaelis-Menten kinetics of DM-CocE for cocaine. Mass spectrometry was used to evaluate interaction with diazepam as this drug interferes with the absorbance spectra of cocaine critical for the spectrophotometric assay. Alcohol, nicotine, morphine, phencyclidine, ketamine, methamphetamine, naltrexone, naloxone, and midazolam did not alter cocaine hydrolysis by DM-CocE. However, diazepam significantly slowed DM-CocE cocaine hydrolysis at very high concentrations, most likely through interaction of the phenyl ring of the benzodiazepine with the active site of DM-CocE. DM-CocE does not display significant drug interactions, with the exception of diazepam, which may warrant further study as DM-CocE progresses towards a clinically used pharmacotherapy for cocaine toxicity. Alternate benzodiazepines, e.g., midazolam could be used to avoid this potential interaction.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Drug and alcohol dependence
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    • "Several long acting depot injections with activity over about one month have recently been developed [27] and marketed in the USA [28] mainly for alcohol [29-31], but are also likely to find application in opiate dependent patients. More recently a longer acting device efficacious for 4–6 months [32] and used widely in Australia for opiate dependency has been developed and trialed, and is presently under consideration before the regulatory authorities in this country. Contrary to the classical view of the limited clinical role of naltrexone [33] several fascinating papers have emerged from researchers in Perth and elsewhere in relation to the use of the depot formulation in the pregnant heroin user with improved outcomes over agonist therapy [34]; the addicted anesthetist [35]; prolonged maintenance of therapeutic serum naltrexone levels above 1–2 ng/ml with sequential implants of 13–17 months [36]; potentiation of the antiviral effect of combination therapy for Hepatitis C [37] and HIV [38,39] possibly by an immunopotentiating mechanism and a dramatic truncation of overdose behaviour in high risk frequently overdosing heroin addicts [40] to the point where the earlier concerns in relation to the safety profile of naltrexone have been largely addressed [41-44]. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is on-going controversy in relation to the efficacy of naltrexone used for the treatment of heroin addiction, and the important covariates of that success. We were also interested to review our experience with two depot forms of implantable naltrexone. A retrospective review of patients' charts was undertaken, patients were recalled by telephone and by letter, and urine drug screen samples were collected. Opiate free success (OFS) was the parameter of interest. Three groups were defined. The first two were treated in the previous 12 months and comprised "implant" and "tablet" patients. A third group was "historical" comprising those treated orally in the preceding 12 months. There were 102, 113 and 161 patients in each group respectively. Groups were matched for age, sex, and dose of heroin used, but not financial status or social support. The overall follow-up rate was 82%. The Kaplan Meier 12 month OFS were 82%, 58% and 52% respectively. 12 post-treatment variables were independently associated with treatment retention. In a Cox proportional hazard multivariate model social support, the number of detoxification episodes, post-treatment employment, the use of multiple implant episodes and spiritual belief were significantly related to OFS. Consistent with the voluminous international literature clinically useful retention rates can be achieved with naltrexone, which may be improved by implants and particularly serial implants, repeat detoxification, meticulous clinical follow-up, and social support. As depot formulations of naltrexone become increasingly available such results can guide their clinical deployment, improve treatment outcomes, and enlarge the policy options for an exciting non-addictive pharmacotherapy for opiate addiction.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2007 · Substance Abuse Treatment Prevention and Policy
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