Thursday, October 14, 2010

Implant could help heroin users

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have been studying the effectiveness of implants in improving the lives of heroin addicts. The implants are inch-long rods that sit just underneath the skin on people's arms. They last for six months and release a steady trickle of buprenorphine, an anti-addiction medicine which is chemically-related to heroin but less harmful. The study involved 163 participants, half of whom received dummy implants and half of whom received buprenorphine ones. After four months urine samples showed that 40% of those with the buprenorphine implants tested negative for illegal drugs compared to only 28% of those with the dummy implants. The drug did have side effects such as nausea, vomiting and constipation.

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