For Those with Opioid Dependence, a New Approach on the Road Toward Health

Man sitting on bed with backache and headache

 (DGIwire) — In many movies involving drug-addicted characters, the dramatic scenes often take place in back alleys with sketchy drug dealers in long coats, or in rundown drug dens. In real life, drug dependence—particularly dependence on opioids—can arise in a middle class or upper class home with a doctor’s prescription. The addict could be one’s next-door neighbor or even oneself.

Doctors will often prescribe opioids to people who have chronic pain disorders or who undergo major surgery. These drugs are very effective when used correctly. Unfortunately, they flood the brain with dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to the brain’s reward or pleasure center. This reduces chronic pain, but over time can result in the patient taking more than needed, causing abuse and addiction. Consequently, they pose a threat not only to the patient but also to anyone who gets ahold of them.

BioDelivery Sciences International (BDSI), a specialty pharmaceutical company based in Raleigh, NC, just received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a drug called BUNAVAIL™ as a treatment for opioid dependence. Although not yet marketed, plans are pending. Another of BDSI’s drugs currently under development is BEMA® Buprenorphine, a potent analgesic for the treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic pain. BEMA Buprenorphine is considered to have less abuse and addiction potential compared to Schedule II drugs such as oxycontin and morphine.

“Opioid dependence is a complex medical condition that often requires long-term treatment and care,” said Mark A. Sirgo, President and CEO of BDSI. “The ultimate goal is to achieve a drug-free state for the addicted individual, and we believe patients should have options in their care.”

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