New Drug Combats Prescription Addictions

One pharmaceutical company is hoping to launch a new medication that will curb prescription addictions.

Designed to stifle cravings, Ibudilast is already available in Japan but has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States.

Ibudilast is poised to be a billion dollar investment for MediciNova, a pharmaceutical company based out of San Diego. The drug is currently in its clinical trial phase in New York. The research is being funded by the National Institutes for Drug Abuse. Like most research groups, it plans to debunk any concerns of Ibudilast’s effectiveness or the safety of those taking it.

Taking prescription drugs is becoming a new way to battle addiction. There are already plenty of other treatments on the market for drug addiction and smoking cessation. The nicotine patch and methadone are commonly used to combat both of these addictions. But it’s been only in the past 10 years that pharmaceutical companies are driving the development of other drugs for other addictions.

In 2002, the FDA approved the use of Subutext and Suboxone. The drugs are used to treat opiate addiction and while they went through the appropriate protocols, the medical community is still not completely convinced. A few years later, the FDA approved a drug for alcoholism — Campral.

Like many prescription drugs, there runs the risk of becoming addicted. Recovering heroin addicts are finding too much refuge in Suboxone, for example, spending $1.2 billion on it in the last year alone. While this epidemic is relatively minor, it may prevent Ibudilast from getting FDA approval. And even if it does pass muster, it will take about five years to be available in the United States.

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