Clinical Trials of New Treatment for Heroin Addiction Completed
The National Institute on Drug Abuse announced the completion of clinical trials of buprenorphine, a drug being studied as a treatment for heroin addiction (John A. Bowersox, "Buprenorphine May Soon Be Heroin Treatment Option," NIDA Notes, Jan./Feb. 1995, p. 8).
The study was conducted by Dr. Walter Ling of the Los Angeles Addiction and Treatment Research Center. 733 participants were given doses of 1, 4, 8, or 16 milligrams every day over 16 weeks. Preliminary results show that the drug, which is held in the mouth and absorbed sublingually, was effective in reducing the craving for heroin among addicts.
The clinical trials represent another step toward Food and Drug Administration approval of buprenorphine for treatment of heroin addiction. The FDA has already approved methadone, naltrexone, and LAAM (l-alpha-acetyl-methadol), but buprenorphine is believed to cause fewer side effects than these other treatments.