Testing oxytocin treatment of opioid withdrawal
Opioid use disorders have emerged as a public health crisis over the past 20 years; opioid overdose is now the leading cause of death for United States adults 25-44 years old. Aside from the initial difficulties posed by opioid addiction—which is notoriously difficult to treat—opioid drug use also complicates mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, PTSD, and depression. Dr. Pedersen and his team have already shown that the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT), administered intranasally, can block withdrawal and diminish drinking in alcohol-addicted subjects. Now they hope to show that it can be effective in reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms.