One of the main challenges with dealing with overdoses from synthetic opioids is that they last longer in the human system than their antidotes. A new antidote is being developed that can be taken in as a single-dose but released into the system over a few days.
Using Nanoparticles to Taken Drug Overdose
The new dose has an important technology that allows the slow release of the antidote. Researchers have been working on using nanoparticles to slowly release naloxone, which is used to treat opioid overdoses.
So far the new antidote has been tested in mice, and the results have been positive. The researchers found that their single-dose nanoparticle-based system released a morphine antidote over a period of 96 hours, and this prevented the effects of this drug from being experienced for that time period. The next stage of the research is going to be to produce similar results in humans and to consider higher doses and stronger drugs such as the deadly fentanyl.
Currently, naloxone used as an antidote passes through the human body very quickly in 30 minutes. This does not give enough time to for it to counter the effects of synthetic opioids such as carfentanil and fentanyl, which are far stronger than morphine. Because of this, the patient must be given multiple antidote doses to treat these dangerous drugs, which can remain in the human system for days on end.
The new antidote was created by integrating naloxone molecules with polylactic acid, a biodegradable polymer, in nanoparticles. The effect of this is that more time is required to breakdown and release the naloxone by the action of enzymes and water in the body.
The Allegheny Health Network Research Institute in Pittsburgh is continuing with this research. A more effective solution for fentanyl overdose could be a major breakthrough because as of 2017, synthetic narcotics are causing the highest number of overdose-related deaths.