Newswise — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first non-opioid treatment to ease sudden withdrawal from opioids. Lucemyra was approved for up to 14 days of treatment for adults to ease common withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and agitation. Withdrawal from opioids is typically managed by substitution of another opioid medicine, followed by gradual reduction or transition to maintenance therapy with FDA-approved medication-assisted treatment drugs such as methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone. 

Danesh Alam, MD, medical director of behavioral health at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, was a principal investigator for the research phase of Lucemyra. He is available to discuss the research, how Lucemyra works and other topics related to the treatment and management of opioid addiction and withdrawal. Dr. Alam is certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Alam also serves as president of the Illinois Psychiatric Society.

The approval of Lucemyra was expedited in an effort to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic. Every day, nearly 100 Americans die after overdosing on opioids, including prescription pain medications. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high with approximately 16.7 million people using prescription drugs for a nonmedical purpose in the past year. 

Other Northwestern Medicine experts are available to discuss the opioid epidemic:

Jonah Stulberg, MD, PhD, MPH, is a general surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the opioid reduction and safe disposal lead for the Northwestern Medicine Health System. He is a public health expert who is focused on opioid reduction and safe disposal strategies, as well as changing the culture around opioid prescribing by surgeons. He is available to discuss the surgeon and hospital role in curbing opioid misuse through safe prescribing and the need for safe disposal of excess opioid prescriptions, as well as why hospitals and clinic should offer their patient the ability to return unused pills by providing onsite disposal kiosks. 

Patrick Lank, MD, is an emergency medicine specialist and toxicologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. As an ER physician, he is on the frontline of the opioid epidemic. He can offer insight into critical care for opioid patients, including the role of Naloxone in the Emergency Department and in the community.  

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