SSRI antidepressants, such as Prozac and Paxil, interact with opioid medications to make them less effective at providing relief from chronic pain. Tramadol relies on activation of the CYP2D6 enzyme to control pain, but SSRIs inhibit this enzyme. Researchers suggest prescribing different classes of antidepressants which do not suppress the enzyme may benefit those in need of opioid medications. Alternatively, non-opioid pain killers should be considered for those who can not switch from SSRIs.
Researchers report a 41% increase in the prescription of opioids for small animals over the past 10 years. The study reports the increase could potentially provide human access to the drugs, fueling the opioid epidemic.
A new vaccine blocks the effects of heroin by preventing the drug from crossing the blood-brain barrier. Researchers believe the vaccine could be helpful in curbing the opioid epidemic.