As prevalence of heroin abuse remains high, scientists behind the Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness (SALOME) are testing alternative treatments for heroin addiction. This year, one finding has received some attention for yielding very promising results. According to an article published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), it was discovered that an already popular pain medication proved to be highly successful at treating individuals with heroin addiction: hydromorphone.
The Good News
Using the hydromorphone for heroin addiction is a fresh new take on a drug that’s primarily been used for treating pain. Hydromorphone is a licensed pain relief medication usually sold under the brand name Dilaudid. According to the JAMA article, the drug will become an effective method for heroin addiction and may be key for those who do not see benefit from Suboxone or methadone treatment. The latest findings also show that hydromorphone can be just as effective as diacetylmorphine, the active ingredient in heroin that’s already being used with as an alternative treatment for heroin addiction.
Despite their similarities, diacetylmorphine and hydromorphone vary in availability and legality depending on where the patient lives. Some areas explicitly forbid the usage of diacetylmorphine, but allow hydromorphone because it is licensed for pain relief. This availability allows more people access to medicine that can help their heroin treatment plan.
Additionally, participants of the latest study experienced fewer health reactions to the medication. All participants also reported significant reductions in their usage of street grade heroin and other similar drugs and participation in illicit and illegal activities.
A Necessary Alternative
People who do not receive some sort of medicinal treatment for heroin addiction often suffer dire consequences, so any progress towards providing this is crucial. Although Suboxone and other conventional medicines work and should be used as a first response, alternatives are important as different people respond to different medicines in various ways. Hydromorphone and the new method of usage can provide the hope of recovery for people who do not respond to conventional medicine.
Medical clinics and numerous health facilities can help you make a first step towards a path of recovery. It could very well include alternative medicine such as hydromorphone and other medicines, especially for those who need it most.