A biomedical engineer at Washington University in St. Louis is developing a therapeutic option that would prevent opiates from crossing the blood-brain barrier, preventing the high abusers seek.
Drug abusers are not completely abandoning prescription opioids for heroin, according to School of Medicine researchers. Instead, many use the two concurrently based on their availability. The researchers’ findings also reveal regional variations in the use of heroin and prescription painkillers.
A reformulation of OxyContin (left) that makes it less likely to be abused than the older formulation (right) has curtailed the drug’s illicit use. But researchers at the School of Medicine have found that a significant percentage still abuse the drug despite package labeling that emphasizes its abuse-deterrent properties.
A nationwide survey of opioid drug abusers in rehab indicates that because of the high it produces, the prescription painkiller oxycodone is the most popular drug of choice. Hydrocodone, also prescribed to treat pain, is next in line. In all, some 75 percent of those surveyed rated one of these drugs as their favorite.
A change in the formula of a frequently abused prescription painkiller has many abusers switching to a drug that is potentially more dangerous, according to School of Medicine researchers. Since the formula change makes inhaling or injecting the opioid drug OxyContin more difficult, many users are switching to heroin.
Itching is one of the most prevalent side effects of powerful, pain-killing drugs like morphine, oxycodone and other opioids. For many years, scientists have scratched their own heads about why the drugs so often induce itch while they are suppressing pain. Now researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown they can control the opioid-induced itching without interfering with a drug’s ability to relieve pain.
Retired NFL players use painkillers at four times the rate of the general population, according to new research conducted by investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The researchers say the brutal collisions and bone-jarring injuries associated with football often cause long-term pain, which contributes to continued use and abuse of pain-killing medications.