This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave final approval for a drug shown to mitigate the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. It’s not the first treatment designed to help those with opioid addiction, but it has a distinguishing feature: It’s the first one that isn’t an opioid itself, and has no addictive component.
Medications exist now to assist those trying to break their addiction to pain medications, but all of those are opioids themselves, given in gradually lower doses to mitigate the symptoms associated with addiction and withdrawal. But the problem with this is that some patients remain addicted to and dependant on opioids in the long term, even if the drugs they’re receiving come under a doctor’s guidance and at a much lower dose. The idea behind the newly approved medication Lucemyra is to treat those same symptoms without including an addictive component.
The active ingredients in the pill bind to cell receptors in the body that lower the production of norepinephrine. This hormone works as part of your body’s fight-or-flight response, working in concert with adrenaline to increase your blood pressure, heart rate, and alertness when necessary.