January 14, 2019 – Daily or Monthly?


Anchor lead: The opioid addiction medicine naltrexone may work best when used in a monthly injection form, Elizabeth Tracey reports, but may be expensive

What is the best medication to help people who are addicted to opioids stay off the drugs? There is a monthly injection called naltrexone, which interferes with the high people get when they misuse opioids, and which is also available in a daily form.  Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, says the monthly injection has advantages.

Strain: When we look at cost/benefit analysis and daily versus monthly dosing I think there are a number of different factors that we need to consider. One is the adherence to taking the medication. Another is the risk of misuse of this medication. The value of the once monthly injection is virtually no diversion in this use of the medication, and adherence is good. So for those reasons there may be value to a once monthly injection that counterbalances those cost considerations. :29

Strain notes that previous research has shown that people often stop taking the daily form of naltrexone after only a few days of use. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.