Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Psychiatry International

ISSN

2673-5318

Volume

2

Issue

28

DOI

10.3390/psychiatryint2040028

First Page

365

Last Page

378

Publication Date

10-14-2021

Abstract

Opioid use disorder is a well-established and growing problem in the United States. It is responsible for both psychosocial and physical damage to the affected individuals with a significant mortality rate. Given both the medical and non-medical consequences of this epidemic, it is important to understand the current treatments and approaches to opioid use disorder and acute opioid overdose. Naloxone is a competitive mu-opioid receptor antagonist that is used for the reversal of opioid intoxication. When given intravenously, naloxone has an onset of action of approximately 2 min with a duration of action of 60–90 min. Related to its empirical dosing and short duration of action, frequent monitoring of the patient is required so that the effects of opioid toxicity, namely respiratory depression, do not return to wreak havoc. Nalmefene is a pure opioid antagonist structurally similar to naltrexone that can serve as an alternative antidote for reversing respiratory depression associated with acute opioid overdose. Nalmefene is also known as 6-methylene naltrexone. Its main features of interest are its prolonged duration of action that surpasses most opioids and its ability to serve as an antidote for acute opioid overdose. This can be pivotal in reducing healthcare costs, increasing patient satisfaction, and redistributing the time that healthcare staff spend monitoring opioid overdose patients given naloxone.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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