Other News

Other news from bridge therapeutics

02/01/19 Medical Leaders: Elevate Evidence Over Bias in Opioid Disorder Treatment

The case for buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid addiction is overwhelming, yet stigmas and biases still remain leading to inadequate treatment of those battling addiction. “Basing medical decisions on beliefs about medications does nothing to help the growing pool of those with [opioid use disorder], who if untreated are likely to fall victim to an overdose”, says Dr. Joshua A. Barocas, of Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Barocas emphasizes the need for an educational campaign to dispel the myth that someone who is taking an agonist to combat opioid addiction is not “addicted” to the medication. 

December 21, 2018

Buprenorphine for opioid addiction is the only medication with federal limits on the number of patients a doctor can treat. Even buprenorphine for the purpose of treating pain does not have a patient cap.

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10/18/18 Panel: Buprenorphine ‘Can Give Patients Their Lives Back’

Ruth Potee, M.D., of Greenfield, Mass., said that when buprenorphine first became available in 2002, there was an expectation that it would be widely used in primary care because addiction is a chronic condition. “By 2010, only 2 percent of primary care physicians were prescribing it,” she said. “That was a massive failure.”

October 16, 2018 

Dr. David O’Gurek, associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University of Philadelphia said stigma is one of the challenges of overcoming substance abuse disorder. He said buprenorphine can help by giving people more control.

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08/21/18 Medication-Assisted Treatments Underused in Patients With Opioid Use Disorder

“A great part of the tragedy of this opioid crisis is that, unlike in previous such crises America has seen, we now possess effective treatment strategies that could address it and save lives,” Nora Volkow, MD, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, wrote in an editorial accompanying the study (Ann Intern Med 2018 Jun 19). “Yet tens of thousands of people die each year because they have not received these treatments.”  

August 20, 2018 

According to the National Institutes of Health–funded study, adults prescribed buprenorphine had a decreased mortality rate of 38%, compared with patients not receiving any medication-assisted treatment over the one-year study period.

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08/17/18 To fight the opioid crisis, the US needs to look at what works

In this article the Washington Examiner discusses how buprenorphine/naloxone combination should be readily available and could act as a key defense against the on going opioid problem in the U.S.

August 16, 2018

Key to understanding how buprenorphine helps is an understanding of the difference between physical dependence and addiction. This can be a confusing distinction, as the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Addiction is essentially an uncontrollable craving and an inability to control use. Dependence, on the other hand, is the term used to describe the physical reliance on opioids.

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07/24/18 Expanding primary care buprenorphine treatment could curb opioid overdose crisis

In this article “Primary Care and the Opioid-Overdose Crisis — Buprenorphine Myths and Realities,” Sarah Wakeman, MD, medical director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Substance Use Disorders Initiative and Michael Barnett, MD, of the Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discuss how “to have any hope of stemming the overdose tide, we have to make it easier to obtain buprenorphine than to get heroin and fentanyl”. The authors believe “there’s a realistic, scalable solution for reaching the millions of Americans with opioid use disorder: mobilizing the primary care physician (PCP) workforce to offer office-based addiction treatment with buprenorphine, as other countries have done.”

July 4, 2018

Expanding the availability of medication treatment for opioid use disorder in primary care settings would be a major step toward reducing overdose deaths, write the two physicians specializing in addiction medicine and health care delivery in the July 5 issue of New England Journal of Medicine.

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07/20/18 How a brain gets hooked on opioids

In this article by PBS explains how traditional opioids interact with the receptors in the brain to produce analgesia (pain relief), constipation, depression, and euphoria. Cathy Cahill PhD, a pain researcher at UCLA also explains how those with chronic pain taking traditional opioids experience big swings of emotion due to the euphoria and subsequent dysphoria as the opioids enter and leave the receptors.  The changes in emotions when coupled with mental health can make a patient more vulnerable to opioid addiction.

October 9, 2017

A 2017 study found most patients — 81 percent — whose addiction started with a chronic pain problem also had a mental health disorder. Another study found patients on morphine experience 40 percent less pain relief from the drug if they have mood disorder.

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07/19/18 Opioid addiction is keeping a high percentage of people out of the workforce, Fed chairman says

America’s opioid epidemic is exacting a massive human toll that also is impacting the economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday. “From an economic standpoint, some high percentage of prime-age people who are not in the labor force, particularly prime-age males who are not in the labor force, are taking painkillers of some kind,” he said.

July 17, 2018

Powell cited research from Princeton economist Alan Krueger, who conducted a survey and found that 44 percent of men reported that they had taken some form of pain medication the previous day.

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06/27/18 The NIH Announces New Research Initiative to Fight Opioid Addiction

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced a new set of research priorities around addiction and pain research in efforts to combat the nation’s opioid crisis.

June 22nd, 2018

The HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative was launched by the NIH with support from the president and the Department of Health and Human Services. Under this ambitious new research program, the NIH will invest resources to aid the discovery of scientific solutions for opioid addiction and pain management.

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04/16/18 Medicare Announces New Guidelines on High-Dose Opioids

Aiming for an “overall reduction in opioid overuse and overdoses,” Medicare announces starting next year there will be new limits for high-dose opioid prescriptions.

APRIL 12, 2018

The Medicare announcement—part of the 2019 Medicare Advantage and Part D Rate Announcement and Call Letter— sets limits for opioid-naive patients on seven-day prescriptions, and notes the expansion and combination of the Overutilization Monitoring System and other government facets to identify “high-risk” opioid users, defined as using high levels of opioids from multiple sources, and “potentiator” users, who are using other medications (e.g., benzodiazepines) that increase the risk for adverse effects from opioids.

Journal Healthcare offers news and resources to the public and features news and resources focused on all areas of healthcare including diseases, medicines, fitness, among others.

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12/07/17 Let’s fix the cause, rather than the problem, of opioid addiction

A recent article published on the website The Hill discusses the problem of prescribing addictive schedule III drugs for pain relief rather than the equally effective and non-addictive schedule II drugs, see full article here.


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