Background: Injectable extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX), approved to prevent relapse to opioid dependence, requires initial abstinence. This multisite outpatient clinical trial examined the efficacy and safety of low-dose oral naltrexone (NTX), combined with a brief buprenorphine (BUP) taper and standing ancillary medications, for detoxification and induction onto XR-NTX.
Methods: Patients (N = 378) were randomized, stratified by primary short-acting opioid-of-use, to one of three regimens: NTX + BUP; NTX + placebo BUP (PBO-B); placebo NTX (PBO-N) + PBO-B. Patients received 7 days of ascending NTX or placebo, concurrent with a 3-day BUP or placebo taper, and ancillary medications in an outpatient setting. Daily psychoeducational counseling was provided. On Day 8, patients passing a naloxone challenge received XR-NTX.
Results: Rates of transition to XR-NTX were comparable across groups: NTX/BUP (46.0%) vs. NTX/PBO-B (40.5%) vs. PBO-N/PBO-B (46.0%). Thus, the study did not meet its primary endpoint. Adverse events, reported by 32.5% of all patients, were mild to moderate in severity and consistent with opioid withdrawal. A first, second, and third XR-NTX injection was received by 44.4%, 29.9%, and 22.5% of patients, respectively. Compared with the PBO-N/PBO-B group, the NTX/BUP group demonstrated higher opioid abstinence during the transition and lower post-XR-NTX subjective opioid withdrawal scores.
Conclusions: A 7-day detoxification protocol with NTX alone or NTX + BUP provided similar rates of induction to XR-NTX as placebo. For those inducted onto XR-NTX, management of opioid withdrawal symptoms prior to induction was achieved in a structured outpatient setting using a well-tolerated, fixed-dose ancillary medication regimen common to all three groups.
Keywords: Detoxification; Naltrexone; Opioid receptor antagonist; Opioid use disorder; Opioid withdrawal; Opioids.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.