FDA approves the first non-opioid treatment for management of opioid withdrawal symptoms in adults
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride) for the mitigation of withdrawal symptoms to facilitate abrupt discontinuation of opioids in adults. While Lucemyra may lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms, it may not completely prevent them and is only approved for treatment for up to 14 days. Lucemyra is not a treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), but can be used as part of a broader, long-term treatment plan for managing OUD.
The most common side effects from treatment with Lucemyra include hypotension (low blood pressure), bradycardia (slow heart rate), somnolence (sleepiness), sedation and dizziness. Lucemyra was also associated with a few cases of syncope (fainting). Lucemyra effect the heart’s electrical activity, which can increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms. When Lucemyra is stopped, patients can experience a marked increase in blood pressure. The safety and efficacy of Lucemyra have not been established in children or adolescents less than 17 years of age. After a period of not using opioid drugs, patients may be more sensitive to the effects of lower amounts of opioids if relapse does occur, and taking opioids in amounts that were used before withdrawing from opioids can lead to overdose and death.
The FDA is requiring 15 postmarketing studies, including both animal and human studies. Additional animal safety studies will be required to support longer-term use (such as during a gradual opioid taper in pain patients discontinuing opioid analgesics) and use in children. Clinical studies will be required to evaluate the safety of Lucemyra in clinical situations where use could be expected to exceed the maximum 14-day treatment period for which the product is currently approved, such as gradual opioid taper; to gather additional safety data on the effects of lofexidine on the liver; and to further characterize the effects on blood pressure after lofexidine is stopped. Studies in pediatric patients will include studies of newborns with neonatal opioid withdrawal and studies of different age groups of children who have opioid withdrawal related to stopping medically-prescribed opioid drugs.
For more information, please visit: Lucemyra.