‘Years of Life Lost’ to unintentional drug overdose in adolescents spikes during pandemic

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a 113% increase in the “Years of Life Lost” among adolescents and young people in the United States due to unintentional drug overdose, according to researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine.

Mouse study links changes in microbiome to prenatal opioid exposure

Prenatal exposure to opioids had been linked to a range of adverse outcomes in infants, including poor fetal growth, low birthweight, possible congenital defects and a higher risk of admission to neonatal intensive care. Less information is known, however, on how developmental opioid exposure shapes an infant’s microbiome and how that influence, in turn, may trigger neurological or behavioral effects later in life.

New Drugs with High Abuse Potential More Likely to Be Approved, Go to Market to Treat Pain

CHICAGO – “Despite the prevalence and societal costs of pain in the United States, investment in pain medication development is low, due in part to poor understanding of the probability of successful development of such medications,” said the authors of a study published Online First in Anesthesiology, the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).

Disparities in opioid treatment access remain for women, Black and Hispanic people

Buprenorphine is a prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that effectively treats opioid dependence or addiction. But women, as well as Black and Hispanic populations, do not have equal access to this potentially lifesaving medication, new Mayo Clinic research finds.

UCLA neuroscientists use electrical stimulation to restore breathing in surgery patients undergoing opioid-based anesthesia

New UCLA research published in The Journal of Physiology points to a novel treatment for respiratory depression associated with opioid use that administers electrical pulses to the back of the neck, helping patients regain respiratory control following high dosage opioid use. This could offer an alternative to pharmacological treatments, which can cause withdrawal symptoms, heart problems and can negatively affect the central nervous system.

Medication that lowers risk of overdose underused

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Saint Louis University found that less than half of Americans who received treatment for opioid use disorder over a five-year period were offered a potentially lifesaving medication. The numbers were even lower for those with what’s known as polysubstance use disorder — when opioid users also misuse other substances.

Study Finds Duloxetine Added to Multimodal Pain Management Reduced Opioid Use After Knee Replacement

A study by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) found that the antidepressant duloxetine reduced the use of opioid medication when added to a multimodal pain management regimen after knee replacement surgery. The study appeared in The Journal of Arthroplasty.

People With Back Pain Miss Far Fewer Workdays When They Receive Recommended Treatments

Medical guidelines help doctors understand the best way to treat health conditions. Surprisingly, many doctors do not adhere to them, and this is a problem, according to a new study. People with lower back pain injury miss 11 more days of work in a year when they only receive treatments for lower back pain that are not recommended by medical guidelines compared to people treated according to guidelines.

Three Longtime Antibiotics Could Offer Alternative to Addictive Opioid Pain Relievers

DALLAS – Feb. 22, 2021 – Three decades-old antibiotics administered together can block a type of pain triggered by nerve damage in an animal model, UT Southwestern researchers report. The finding, published online today in PNAS, could offer an alternative to opioid-based painkillers, addictive prescription medications that are responsible for an epidemic of abuse in the U.S.

Negative side effects of opioids could be coming from users’ own immune systems (video)

Opioid users can develop chronic inflammation and heightened pain sensitivity. These side effects might stem from the body’s own immune system, which can make antibodies against the drugs. The researchers will present their results at the American Chemical Society Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo.

Sedative Drug in Combination with Opioids May Be Especially Dangerous

• In an analysis of information on US adults initiating hemodialysis, 16% of patients were dispensed a short-acting benzodiazepine, and approximately one-quarter of these patients were also dispensed opioids.
• Among patients with an opioid prescription, being dispensed a short-acting benzodiazepine had a 1.9-fold higher risk of dying over a median follow-up of 16 months compared with patients without a short-acting benzodiazepine.

Research shows nasal spray antidote is easiest to give for opioid overdose

Of three possible ways for people to deliver the life-saving antidote naloxone to a person experiencing an opioid overdose, the use of a nasal spray was the quickest and easiest according to research conducted by William Eggleston, clinical assistant professor at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and colleagues at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Regional trends in overdose deaths reveal multiple opioid epidemics, according to new study

A recently published study shows the United States in the grip of several simultaneously occurring opioid epidemics, rather than just a single crisis. The epidemics came to light after the researchers analyzed county-level data on drug overdose deaths. The study highlights the importance of different policy responses to the epidemics rather than a single set of policies.

Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Provides Pain Relief and More Effective Opioid Alternative in Animal Study

An international team of researchers has used nanoparticles to deliver a drug—one that previously failed in clinical trials for pain—into specific compartments of nerve cells, dramatically increasing its ability to treat pain in mice and rats. The findings are published Nov. 4 in Nature Nanotechnology.

Designing a new class of drugs to treat chronic pain

A UC Davis research team, led by Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy and Heike Wulff, will receive a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a novel class of peptides that are better at treating pain and don’t have the side effects of opioids. The grant is part of the NIH initiative Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL Initiative).

Other treatments can reduce need for addictive pain medication

Hardly a day goes by without the public being warned about the dangers of opioids. But still, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people die every day of opioid overdose and the problem is getting worse. A Houston Methodist pain specialist says new advancements in pain management are giving patients options.

Patients in the U.S. and Canada are Seven Times as Likely as those in Sweden to Receive Opioids After Surgery

Patients in the United States and Canada are seven times as likely as those in Sweden to receive a prescription for opioid medications after surgery, according to a new multi-institutional study led by researchers from Penn Medicine.