NIH Begins Clinical Trial on Drug to Treat Opioid Cravings

Mar 22, 2019

The National Institutes of Health has begun a clinical trial on a drug designed to treat cravings associated with opioid use disorder. 

There are a handful of drugs already on the market that are commonly used to treat OUD such as methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. But these are either synthetic opioids or have little impact on cravings specifically. The new drug, if successful, will focus on targeting the cravings felt by some patients who have OUD – and hopefully help them maintain sobriety.

Researchers will examine how the new drug is processed by the body when used together with another drug that is processed by the same pathways. The idea is to see how the new drug would respond if a physician were to use it in conjunction with other medications like naltrexone, or if a physician were treating cravings for opioid use disorder while also treating the patient for a related disease like HIV.

The study will enroll 50 healthy adults aged 18 through 65 years. Participants will stay in the Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for 10 days and return for a final outpatient visit after one week.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.