Lofexidine (Lucemyra) for Treatment of Some Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
By Natan Schleider, M.D.
Source: American Family Physician V.99 No.6 March 15th, 2019
While I am pleased that a new medicine recently FDA approved for mitigating some symptoms of opioid withdrawal (IE sweating, increased heart rate, some of the physical symptoms of anxiety) I am cautiously optimistic at best that this medicine will see much
The pros of lofexidine:
- Most importantly it demonstrates that someone / the pharmaceutical industry realizes a need for more medicines to address the current opioid epidemic. This is extremely important given the few resources available for treating opioid dependence so kudos to all who did the work to get this medicine approved seriously.
- See point 1
The cons of lofexidine:
- It costs about $1,776 dollars for a seven-day supply whereas there is an older virtually identical medicine (also commonly used to mitigate withdrawal symptoms) clonidine which costs nine dollars for a 30 day supply.
- Dosing is 4 times a day (presuming a patient in acute withdrawal isn’t vomiting everything they try to swallow which is often the case).
I don’t mean to ‘poo-poo’ this medicine and I will certainly prescribed it when indicated. I will be astonished if an insurance company covers it but at least there is one more weapon in the arsenal.
Thanks for reading.
Natan Schleider, M.D.