LOUISVILLE, Ky., Oct. 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a recent survey1, nearly nine in ten physicians and nearly nine in ten people in the general public agree that helping people get off opioids should be a fundamental part of addressing America's opioid crisis. Similarly, nearly nine in ten physicians and eight in ten people in the general public agree that healthcare professionals need more education and training about opioid use.
Based on the nationwide survey conducted by Ketchum Analytics, an independent research company, 1,100 adults in the general population and 500 physicians believe there is a clear lack of both education and confidence when it comes to safely discontinuing opioid use.
- Three-fifths of the general population feel that physicians don't know enough about how to help patients stop taking opioids, and four-fifths of physicians agree that there is a lack of education on how to transition patients off of opioids
- Nearly one-quarter of physicians admit they are not confident they can safely get patients off of opioids
- However, nearly three-quarters of the general public and almost two-thirds of the physicians agree that physicians nationwide share the blame for America's opioid crisis
"As a company, we are deeply committed to battling the opioid crisis and to improving the lives of patients," stated P. Breckinridge Jones, Chief Executive Officer and founder of US WorldMeds, the company that sponsored the survey. "We have invested significant time and resources to researching, developing, and bringing to market a product that helps address this unmet medical need. We have worked hard to bridge some of these education gaps through peer-to-peer programs and a variety of educational tools for physicians and patients."
The opioid crisis goes beyond people who have been diagnosed with Opioid Use Disorder, commonly referred to as addiction.2 Many more people face physical opioid dependence, even when taking their medicine as prescribed by their physicians.3
Opioid Withdrawal is a Major Barrier for Patients to Stop Taking Opioids
From a clinical standpoint, symptoms of opioid withdrawal are powerful drivers of opioid dependence and addictive behaviors. Many people trying to stop opioids have such difficulty tolerating these symptoms that the desire to avoid them can perpetuate opioid use. Not only is there a disconnect about how quickly patients can develop a physical dependency to opioids, and are therefore subject to withdrawal symptoms, but there isn't a firm process in place for how to help.4 The survey found that there is an opportunity to educate further on opioid withdrawal and its impact on the current crisis:
- One-third of physicians do not believe it is possible for patients to develop a physical dependency to opioids in less than a week (scientific literature states it can happen as quickly as five days5)
- Fear of opioid withdrawal keeps two-fifths of current opioid users from getting off of opioids; three- quarters of physicians agree that fear of opioid withdrawal is keeping patients from getting off of opioids
- Nearly a third of current opioid users who have attempted to get off of opioids in the past cite managing withdrawal symptoms as the main reason they did not succeed
- Two-fifths of physicians believe one of the biggest barriers to getting off of opioids is lack of adequate withdrawal management treatment
- Nearly nine in ten physicians are concerned about withdrawal symptoms for their patients taking opioids
Insurance Coverage Plays a Role
- The vast majority of physicians (88%) and people in the general population (85%) agree that if there are medications that can help with opioid withdrawal, all insurers must cover them
- Nearly two-thirds of physicians and people in the general public agree that lack of health insurance coverage is one of the biggest barriers to solving America's opioid crisis
Personal Experience is Widespread and Motivating
- Nearly half of the people surveyed in the general public personally know someone who is addicted to or dependent on opioids
- Eight in ten members of the general public and physicians believe we must get rid of the stigma and shame associated with opioid addiction
- People who personally know someone affected by opioids are more likely than those who do not to educate themselves about prescriptions by reading information attached to the prescription (66% vs. 58%), researching the medications online (63% vs. 43%), or asking friends/family members if they've taken the medication before (23% vs. 17%)
"There is still much more work to be done," noted Jones. "Physicians and patients are overwhelmingly asking for more education around stopping opioids. We need to work harder to help them manage this crisis."
Two 15-minute online surveys (general population and physicians) were conducted in June 2019. The surveys received responses from 1,100 adults in the general population (257 current opioid users, 186 past opioid users, and 657 non-opioid users), along with responses from 507 physicians.
For additional resources on US WorldMeds and LUCEMYRA® (lofexidine), see here.
About Opioid Withdrawal
Opioids lower norepinephrine, a brain chemical that supports vital functions like respiration and consciousness. With continued opioid use, the brain establishes a new equilibrium by increasing compensatory norepinephrine production in order to maintain normal functioning. When opioids are removed, or the dose is significantly reduced, the brain's increased norepinephrine levels are no longer offset by the presence of the opioids. This results in a norepinephrine surge that produces the acute symptoms of withdrawal.
About US WorldMeds
US WorldMeds is a specialty pharmaceutical company whose products are making a difference in the lives of the patients and communities it serves. US WorldMeds takes an agile and personal approach to pharmaceuticals – pioneering research and product development in therapeutic areas that desperately need new solutions. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, US WorldMeds has global presence and more than 15 years of experience in the development, licensure, and commercialization of unique products. For more information about US WorldMeds, visit http://www.usworldmeds.com/. Follow US WorldMeds on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
About Ketchum Analytics
Ketchum Analytics provides customized solutions for clients from a vast range of industries by combining quantitative, qualitative, and digital research and analytics, as well as strategic planning and insights. We bring together a diverse range of talent from all over the world, including experts from academic, corporate, and political research to solve the toughest problems facing our clients and partners. A trusted name in research and communications for over 90 years, Ketchum is part of the Omnicom family of marketing and communications consultancies.
About LUCEMYRA® (lofexidine)
LUCEMYRA (lofexidine), an oral tablet, is a central alpha 2-adrenergic agonist that reduces the release of norepinephrine to suppress the neurochemical surge that produces opioid withdrawal. It is indicated for mitigation of opioid withdrawal symptoms to facilitate abrupt opioid discontinuation in adults. In clinical trials, LUCEMYRA significantly reduced the severity of withdrawal symptoms compared to placebo, as reported by patients experiencing opioid withdrawal. The usual starting does of LUCEMYRA is three 0.18 tablets taken orally four times daily at five- to six-hour intervals during the period of peak withdrawal symptoms (generally five to seven days following last use of opioids); total treatment may continue for up to 14 days, with dosing guided by symptoms and side effects. The total daily dosage of LUCEMYRA should not exceed 2.88 mg (16 tablets) and no single dose should exceed 0.72 mg (4 tablets). LUCEMYRA should be discontinued with gradual dose reduction over two to four days.
LUCEMYRA® (lofexidine) – Important Safety Information
What is LUCEMYRA?
LUCEMYRA is a non-opioid prescription medicine used in adults to help with the symptoms of opioid withdrawal that may happen when you stop taking an opioid suddenly.
LUCEMYRA will not completely prevent the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and is not a treatment for opioid use disorder.
Important Safety Information:
LUCEMYRA can cause serious side effects, including low blood pressure, slow heart rate, and fainting. Watch for symptoms of low blood pressure or heart rate, including dizziness, lightheadedness, or feeling faint at rest or when quickly standing up; if you experience these symptoms, call your healthcare provider right away and do not take your next dose of LUCEMYRA until you have talked to your healthcare provider. Avoid becoming dehydrated or overheated and be careful not to stand up too suddenly from lying or sitting, as these may increase your risk of low blood pressure and fainting.
When your treatment is complete, you will need to stop taking LUCEMYRA gradually, or your blood pressure could increase.
After a period of not using opioid drugs, you can become more sensitive to the effects of opioids if you start using them again. This may increase your risk of overdose and death.
Before taking LUCEMYRA, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you have low blood pressure, slow heart rate, any heart problems including history of heart attack or a condition called long QT syndrome, liver or kidney problems, or if you drink alcohol. Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding; it is not known if LUCEMYRA can harm your unborn baby or whether LUCEMYRA passes into your breast milk.
Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take benzodiazepines, barbiturates, tranquilizers, or sleeping pills, as taking these with LUCEMYRA can cause serious side effects.
The most common side effects of LUCEMYRA include low blood pressure or symptoms of low blood pressure such as lightheadedness, slow heart rate, dizziness, sleepiness, and dry mouth.
To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS or product complaints, contact US WorldMeds at 1-833- LUCEMYRA. You may also report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Please click here to access the full U.S. Prescribing Information and Patient Information for LUCEMYRA.
1 Ketchum Analytics. (July 16, 2019). Opioid Withdrawal Survey.
2 American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
3 Volkow. (2017). Opioid Abuse in Chronic Pain – Misconceptions and Mitigation Strategies.
4 Kosten. (2002). The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence: Implications for Treatment.
5 Shah. (2017). Characteristics of Initial Prescription Episodes and Likelihood of Long-Term Opioid Use.
SOURCE US WorldMeds, LLC