CNN released a news article a little while back titled “With anti-addiction pill, ‘no urge, no craving‘” that seems to suggest that a cure for addiction has been found. As usual, news reporting on these sort of topics revolves around a kernel of truth, with nice window dressing an a serving of embellishment.
While naltrexone, and topiramate, have been shown to improve outcomes in addiction treatment, they have by no means revealed anything that would warrant giving them the title “anti-addiction pills.”
Indeed, there are now a few different preparations of Naltrexone, including a long acting version called Vivitrol that while relatively expensive, has been shown to be relatively effective at cutting relapse rates for both alcoholics AND heroin (or opiate addicts). Note the difference though here between my language and that used by CNN; Naltrexone has been shown to reduce relapse rates, not eliminate them, and current research seems to show that it is most effective only for specific groups of alcoholics who have a specific type of Mu opioid receptor.
As the article points out, a combination of therapies, including behavioral therapies, medications, and social-support, are still the best option when it comes to addiction treatment.
We’re a long way off from finding anything that can be considered a cure for addiction, no matter what some treatment centers like to claim, but these pills should help us stem the tide while we keep looking…
As many of you know, I’m in support of animal research as long as it’s conducted ethically and with concern for the animals’ well-being. That being said, it would be an understatement to announce that there are others who disagree. All well and good as long as people are civilized.
I’ve already written about this topic a bit on here, but I want to point everyone to a great site that focuses specifically on this aspect of research. I think that information and education are important in debate and I hope that people will use this resource.
There will actually be a debate on the topic on the UCLA campus though, as usual, animal extremists have once again betrayed us all by issuing threats and therefore making the event closed to the UCLA community. In a move reminiscent of Orwellian politics, these groups may have realized that open debate will uncover just how dogmatic, extreme, and unnecessary they are and further marginalize them (if that’s possible).
If you are a UCLA student, staff, or faculty member, I urge you to attend.
Well, it seems the toxicology reports are in and Brittany’s death was, at least partially, caused by her taking of multiple prescription drugs. Still, it seems that she was trying to medicate a host of conditions brought on by her underlying anemia and pneumonia. It’s sad to think that this death could have likely been prevented had she simply taken better care of herself and gone to seek emergency care rather than loading her body with those pills. Unfortunately, this seems to be another in a string of medically preventable deaths… Sad.
Brittany Murphy, the actress from “Clueless,” and “8 Mile” died last night at Cedars-Sinai in Beverly Hills at the age of 32. Brittany has been rumored to be suffering from severe eating disorders, and recent pictures seem to support that notion. Given that she apparently died from cardiac arrest, I’m wondering if drugs (even prescription drugs) played a role in the death as well… I’ll keep updating the story as more becomes available.
My heart goes out to her family and friends. Certainly a loss suffered far too early.
UPDATE: According to the police report, a number of prescription drugs were discovered in Brittany’s bedroom including (read past the list for my take on this):
- Topamax – While TMZ reported this drug to be used as anti-seizure medication, it is also used to reduce weight-gain associated with the use of many other prescription drugs on this list. Lastly, it is considered to be a mood stabilizer.
- Methylprednisolone – An anti-inflammatory that may be used to treat bronchial infections
- Prozac – A commonly prescribed SSRI anti-depression med.
- Klonopin – A benzodiazepine anti-anxiety prescription medication that is also used to help with insomnia. Like most benzos, the probability of overdose is low if used properly, but overdose would lead to cardiac arrest.
- Carbamazepine – Another anti-convulsant mood stabilizer often used to treat bipolar disorder. This prescription drug can be very dangerous when combined with other medications due to its actions on GABA and extensive alteration of Sodium channel activity. It is also a bipolar med.
- Ativan – Once again a benzodiazepine that is often used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
- Vicoprofen – A pain reliever that includes an opioid (it sounds like vicodin for a reason).
- Propranolol – Prescription med used to treat hypertension and as an alternative, less habit-forming anti-anxiety drug.
- Biaxin – An antibiotic.
- Hydrocodone – Same as Vicoprofen, an analgesic (pain reducing) prescription drug.
What do I think killed Brittany?
With 2 benzodiazepine medications, 2 opiates, and antidepressant, and a drug that is made to lower one’s heart pressure, it’s no wonder that Brittany was found not breathing. I’m going to wait until the final toxicology report to draw a definite conclusion, but from this list, it seems highly likely that a dangerous combination of these prescription drugs was taken, which resulted in Brittany’s heart stopping. Even when taken at their prescribed strengths, these medication, when combined, can form a lethal cocktail.
You should ALWAYS check with your doctor regarding interactions between different prescriptions you’re taking, especially when those medications haven’t all been prescribed by the same physician!