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FDA Approves First Nonopioid Drug To Ease Withdrawal Symptoms

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(ABC NEWS)- Federal regulators on Wednesday approved the first nonopioid treatment to ease withdrawal from quitting addictive opioids.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expedited approval of Lucemyra to help combat the U.S. opioid epidemic. Two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved opioids, mostly fentanyl, heroin and prescription painkillers.

The pill was approved to treat adults for up to two weeks for common withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and agitation. It is not an addiction medicine but can be part of a longer-term treatment plan, according to the FDA.

 

People going through detox are usually given a safer opioid medicine like methadone, which eases the cravings without an intense high.

“The fear of experiencing withdrawal symptoms often prevents those suffering from opioid addiction from seeking help,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

In two studies of 866 adults, those given Lucemyra reported less severe withdrawal symptoms when they abruptly stopped taking opioids, compared to those who were given dummy pills.

 

Side effects included low blood pressure, dizziness, sleepiness, slow heart rate and, in a few people, fainting.

The FDA is requiring drugmaker US WorldMeds of Louisville, Kentucky, to conduct more studies in teens and newborns of opioid-addicted mothers and for possible longer-term use in people tapering off opioids.

Privately held US WorldMeds said it had not yet set a price for Lucemyra.

 

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Daniella Hankey

Daniella Hankey joined Newswatch as a Reporter. Armed with a major in Communications and Media Studies and a minor in Education, Daniella relocated to southern West Virginia from Florida to further pursue her career. During her time at Stetson, she covered several big stories on and off campus including the June 2016 Pulse Night Club shooting and Hurricane Matthew. She worked as a news anchor and reporter for her college news station and enjoyed an internship in productions at PBS. Her love for journalism started in high school when she was selected as a Bright House Varsity Reporter as well as the school anchor. Daniella was born and raised in Orlando and is a proud Floridian. Her current interests include enjoying everything West Virginia has to offer, from outdoor adventures to the beautiful mountains and scenery. As a multi-trained journalist, Daniella is always prepared to cover the stories that matter to our viewers and help to keep her newly adopted community informed. If you have any story ideas or news tips, please email Daniella at dhankey@woaynewswatch.com


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