There’s a new hope for the thousands of Americans struggling with addiction to prescription pain killers. Yesterday, an advisory panel within the Food and Drug Administration voted 12 to 1 to approve the medication Vivitrol for use in combating opioid painkiller addiction. The medication, developed by Massachusetts based pharmaceutical company Alkermes, is administered via injection after patients have successfully completed the detoxification process and no longer experience withdrawal symptoms from opioid painkillers.
Medically classified as a "naltrexone injection," Vivitrol works as an extended-release medication that blocks opioid receptors within the human body and can keep symptoms of addiction at bay for an entire month. Vivitrol was originally developed by Alkermes to fight symptoms of addiction and relapse among individuals struggling with alcohol dependency. Despite being approved by the FDA for that use in 2006 and yielding promising results, it had not been profitable or experienced widespread use within the medical community to treat alcoholism.
The FDA’s decision could change the primary use of Vivitrol in a very big way. Anticipation of the FDA’s vote has led to a 51% stock increase in Alkermes since this time last year. This was quite a welcome surprise for Alkermes considering the fact that the company had previously lost profits while manufacturing Vivitrol. Alkermes is publicly traded as ALKS on the NASDAQ stock index. Praise for Vivitrol has not been limited to investors, however. Doctors and addiction treatment professionals are lauding the treatment as a potential breakthrough in the increasing national problem of prescription painkiller addiction. Vivitrol’s promise in treating opioid addiction is clear even if physicians choose to use it as a supplement to treatment.
For Florida, Vivitrol could give new hope to individuals struggling with both an addiction to painkillers and serious pending criminal charges such as Felony Drug Possession, Doctor Shopping, Prescription Fraud, or even Drug Trafficking, crimes which increasingly involve legal prescription drugs being obtained, consumed, or sold by people without a lawful prescription. It seems certain that Vivitrol will be used throughout Florida in order to combat not only the rampant problem of opioid addiction in the state, but also as a method to mitigate Florida’s reputation for “pill mills.” We anticipate that Vivitrol may become a feature of treatment for people charged with drug-related offenses, especially when one considers the potential for increased arrests and law enforcement activity when Florida’s currently delayed prescription drug database goes online.
Have You Been Arrested for a Drug Related Criminal Offense in Pinellas County? We Can Help!
We are experienced criminal defense attorneys who handle drug and prescription medication charges arising out of Pinellas County, Florida. As a result, we regularly appear in our local drug court and routinely deal with the same judges and prosecutors on a daily basis. Our office understands how a drug or alcohol addiction can play a major role in motivating theses offenses. Our goal is to seek rehabilitation and treatment as part of our strategy designed to avoid conviction and avoid jail.
Contact our office for a free consultation at: (727) 578-0303