Investigational Oxycodone Vaccine Shows Potential for Oxycodone Abuse, Overdose

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As standard medications that reduce the severity of opioid overdose are often considered unsatisfactory, alternatives are needed that have the potential to engage those addicted in treatment.
As standard medications that reduce the severity of opioid overdose are often considered unsatisfactory, alternatives are needed that have the potential to engage those addicted in treatment.

Vaccination with oxycodone conjugated to keyhole limpet hemocyanin subunit dimer (OXY-dKLH) may represent an effective treatment strategy for oxycodone abuse and may help reduce oxycodone overdose severity, according to results from a study published in PLoS One.

Researchers immunized male Holtzman rats with 25 μg OXY-dKLH or dKLH (controls) adsorbed to aluminum hydroxide. After administration of increasing cumulative doses of oxycodone, immunization with OXY-dKLH led to the attenuation of oxycodone-induced antinociception, as indicated by the shifting of the dose-response curve to the right [vaccination, F(1,29)=7.40 (P <.05); interaction, F(5,145)=4.41 (P <.001); oxycodone dose, F(5,145)=112.6 (P <.001)].

The administration of naloxone, commonly given to reverse opioid overdose, was effective in the treatment and control groups for quickly reversing respiratory depression. Vaccine immunogenicity and serum anti-oxycodone antibody titers were not affected by the administration of long-acting naltrexone or by the continuous infusion of morphine.

Neither the immunogenicity nor the serum titers of anti-oxycodone antibodies were affected by the administration of long-acting naltrexone in mice immunized with a native KLH conjugate.

Although standard medications can help reduce the severity of opioid overdose, many individuals with opioid addiction or abuse find them unsatisfactory; OXY-dKLH might therefore represent a valuable alternative for "engaging more opioid addicts in treatment."

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Reference

Raleigh MD, Peterson SJ, Laudenbach M, et al. Safety and efficacy of an oxycodone vaccine: addressing some of the unique considerations posed by opioid abuse. PLoS One. 2017;12(12):e0184876.

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