Fw: "only in America" ... New York Times article with news and views on buprenorphine.

Preston Peet ptpeet at nyc.rr.com
Thu Aug 5 22:59:02 EDT 2004


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Andrew Byrne" <ajbyrne at ozemail.com.au>
To: "Andrew Byrne" <ajbyrne at ozemail.com.au>
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 8:51 PM
Subject: "only in America" ... New York Times article with news and views on
buprenorphine.


> "New Ways to Loosen Addiction's Grip"
> By ANAHAD O'CONNOR
>
> Published: August 3, 2004
>
> http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/03/health/03addi.htm
>
> This long (2600 word) article is worth reading.  Some snippets I found
> interesting:
>
> "60,000 Americans [have had] a chance to break their dependence on drugs
> without shame [of methadone]."
>
> "Buprenorphine, made by Reckitt Benckiser and sold under the brand name
> Suboxone, became the first prescription medication for people addicted
> to heroin or painkillers.
>
> [snip]
>
> Serious drug addiction is a problem that afflicts more than 10 million
> Americans. Hard-core narcotics like heroin and cocaine have a
> notoriously stubborn hold on addicts, and relapse rates are high.
>
> [snip]
>
> In laboratories around the country, researchers are creating
> prescription medications to alleviate craving or blunt euphoria, and
> working on vaccines that can prevent people from getting high by mopping
> up a drug in the bloodstream. In some cases, the research is already
> bearing fruit: Campral, a new prescription drug to block cravings for
> alcohol, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last week.
> Other medications are likely to enter the market within a few years.
>
> [snip]
>
> "We now know the changes these drugs cause in the brain at the molecular
> level that lead to addiction," said Dr. Eric J. Nestler, chairman of the
> department of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern medical
> center.
>
> [snip]
>
> Between 180,000 and 200,000 Americans are on methadone, said Dr. David
> M. McDowell, director of a program at Columbia University that helps
> people make the transition from methadone to buprenorphine, then refers
> them to other doctors for private care. In New York, 36,000 people are
> on methadone.
>
> "The most stigmatized thing in this world is methadone," said Dr. Edwin
> A. Salsitz, director of Beth Israel Medical Center's methadone program
> in New York. "There is nothing people try to hide more than being on
> methadone. They don't want to be seen going into a clinic. They won't
> tell anyone they're taking it."
>
> [snip]
>
> Doctors in the United States wrote 80,000 prescriptions for
> buprenorphine in 2003, a number that is expected to soar in the coming
> years. Lured by the prospect of privacy, many heroin and opiate abusers
> are seeking help for the first time. Others are switching from methadone.
>
> [snip]
>
> It [buprenorphine] is not perfect by any means. One drawback is that for
> some longtime heroin users, its effects are too weak, and methadone ends
> up as their only alternative. But for those who can take it,
> buprenorphine's effects last longer than methadone's, experts say, which
> drives the likelihood of relapse down sharply.
>
>
>
>




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