Users Online: 505
Home Print this page Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Search Browse articles Submit article Ahead of Print Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 


 
Previous article Browse articles Next article 
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Adv Biomed Res 2014,  3:249

The frequency of agitation due to inappropriate use of naltrexone in addicts


Department of Clinical Toxicology, Isfahan Clinical Toxicology Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Submission29-Sep-2013
Date of Acceptance15-Dec-2013
Date of Web Publication06-Dec-2014

Correspondence Address:
Nastaran Eizadi-Mood
Department of Clinical Toxicology, Clinical Toxicology Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan
Iran
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, research project number: 387454, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2277-9175.146373

Rights and Permissions
  Abstract 

Background: There is a high tendency among specialists to treat the addicts with naltrexone; withdrawal symptoms are frequent after taking naltrexone along with opioids. This study investigated the frequency of agitation due to inappropriate use of naltrexone in addicts.
Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study, conducted in Noor and Aliasghar hospitals in Isfahan city. The study population included the addicts who were agitated as a result of naltrexone abuse. Scores of patients with agitation were measured with Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS). Patient outcomes including recovery without complications, recovery with complications (rhabdomyolysis), and mortality were recorded.
Results: All the patients with agitation caused by naltrexone abuse during 1 year were 40 people, of whom nine were excluded due to their comorbid diseases (diabetes or cardiovascular disease). Among the remaining 31 patients, 30 were male. The patients' mean age was 29.93 (5.24) years. The most common symptoms observed besides agitation was midriasis (41.9%), and vomiting (41.9%), A 38.8% of the patients scored 3 or 4, and, 61.2% scored 1 or 2 for agitation. The mean time for patients' restlessness scores to reach zero was 9.30 (3.71) h (min: 3 h, max: 18 h). All the patients in both groups were discharged with recovery without complication.
Conclusion: Considering the high prevalence of agitation in the poisoning emergency department due to inappropriate use of naltrexone, more accurate planning for administration of naltrexone in addicts seems necessary.

Keywords: Drug abuser, naltrexone, restlessness score, Richmond agitation sedation scale


How to cite this article:
Siadat S, Eizadi-Mood N, Sabzghabaee AM, Gheshlaghi F, Yaraghi A. The frequency of agitation due to inappropriate use of naltrexone in addicts. Adv Biomed Res 2014;3:249

How to cite this URL:
Siadat S, Eizadi-Mood N, Sabzghabaee AM, Gheshlaghi F, Yaraghi A. The frequency of agitation due to inappropriate use of naltrexone in addicts. Adv Biomed Res [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Mar 22];3:249. Available from: http://www.advbiores.net/text.asp?2014/3/1/249/146373


  Introduction Top


Naltrexone is a competitive antagonist of opioid receptors, which blocks μ and k receptors and is used in addiction control programs. [1],[2],[3] Before using naltrexone, the opioid abusers should have participated in detoxification programs, and their bodies would be cleared of drugs. So in the case that an addicted person uses naltrexone before the complete detoxification, it leads to acute blocking of opioid receptors and development of opioid acute withdrawal symptoms. [4],[5]

These symptoms may be caused 5 min after using naltrexone and may remain for 48 min. Symptoms include agitation, confusion, hallucinations, sweating, hyperthermia, tachycardia, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, increased creatine kinase (CPK), and rhabdomyolysis. [6]

At present, the treatment of symptoms of drug withdrawal is supportive and includes intravenous fluids, analgesics, and antispasmodic drugs. However, one of the acute symptoms of drug withdrawal syndrome following the use of naltrexone is restlessness or agitation, which has no effective treatment so far, and sometimes requires general anesthesia in severe cases. [5],[6],[7]

There are only a few case reports available regarding the agitation caused by naltrexone misuse in addicts. In 1999, two cases were reported in Italy; one related to injecting heroin and the other one to ex-heroin, and both cases were restless due to the use of naltrexone and were hardly controlled with anesthetic drugs. Also, three similar cases, one in Australia and two in England were reported. In all of the above cases, supportive measures and heavy sedation were taken to control restlessness, but they were not quite satisfactory. [6],[8],[9],[10],[11]

Because there is a high tendency among specialists to treat the addicted patients with naltrexone, and this drug may be abused by addicts, and also high easily accessible of this drug, there may be observed more cases of withdrawal symptoms after using naltrexone in detoxification program. Furthermore, their agitation is sometimes so severe that the patients may hurt themselves or the healthcare staff. So, this study was aimed to investigate the frequency of agitation due to inappropriate use of naltrexone in addicted patients.


  Materials and methods Top


This was a cross-sectional study conducted in Noor Hospital in Isfahan city during 1 year. It was approved by the ethics committee of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (Research Project Number: 387454). The study population included the drug addicts (of any opioids other than alcohol) who were agitated due to naltrexone abuse. The exclusion criteria were having underlying diseases (diabetes, renal stones, renal failure, dialysis, and cardiovascular diseases), being restless due to using a substance other than naltrexone (eg, naloxone) and pregnancy.

Before the patients entered the study, a written consent was obtained from them or their companion. The patients were admitted to the poisoning emergency department. At the beginning, the patient's agitation scores were measured by Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS). [12],[13] The restlessness score was measured at the beginning of the study and every hour until the patient's agitation score reached zero. Patients' vital signs including arterial blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and peripheral body temperature were recorded hourly by nurses. After treatment, the outcomes of patients including recovery without complications, recovery with complications (rhabdomyolysis), and mortality were recorded. For data analysis, SPSS 17.0 software was used.


  Results Top


All the patients with the agitation caused by naltrexone abuse during 1 year were 40 people, but nine of them were excluded due to associated diseases (diabetes or cardiovascular diseases). From the remaining 31 patients, 30 were males and 1 was female. Their mean age was 29.93 (5.24) years (min: 20 years, max: 40 years). Of the patient's, 9.7% had a history of mental illness.

In our study, the most common symptoms associated with agitation were midriasis (41/9%), vomiting (41/9%), tremor (29%), and diarrhea (22%) [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Cumulative frequency of accompanying symptoms in patients with agitation

Click here to view


No hypothermia or hyperthermia was observed in any of the patient's. Patient's vital signs were normal during hospitalization.

For the purpose of checking the patient's agitation scores, the RAAS scale was used upon admission and every hour until it reached zero upon admission, 38.8% of the patients scored 3 or 4 and 61.2% scored 1 or 2 [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Agitation score on admission in patients. , Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale

Click here to view


The mean time it took patients' agitation score to reach zero was 9.30 (3.71) h (min: 3 h, max: 18 h).

The patients' outcomes including recovery without complications, recovery with complications (rhabdomyolysis), and mortality were recorded, and all the patients in both groups were discharged without complications.


  Discussion Top


Naltrexone is easily accessible in some communities. There are only a few case reports regarding the use of naltrexone in addicts and treating its subsequent agitation, whereas in Noor and Ali Asghar hospitals, we had 40 cases of withdrawal symptoms during a year following the inappropriate use of naltrexone with drug abuse.

In a study conducted in 2003, by Boyce et al., a 39-year-old man who was addicted to heroin had used three 50 mg tablets of naltrexone, he became so restless that when he arrived at the hospital, he was held by four police officers. Physicians' early efforts for controlling restlessness by intravenous midazolam and droperidol were not satisfactory. Consequently, the patient was anesthetized and ventilated. [6]

In 2008, a study was conducted by Pinelli et al., whose results showed that using naloxone for drug users increased malondialdehyde or MDA, and MDA and antioxidants were able to reduce the effects of naloxone. [14]

In a review on a case report by Ruan et al. in 2010, [15] a new compound called Embeda was introduced. It is a combination of slow-release morphine plus naltrexone that has been introduced recently as a pain killer. Introducing such pain killers containing naltrexone increases the potential of having more withdrawal syndromes in opioid abusers.

Naltrexone abuse in addicted patients can cause drug withdrawal symptoms, which include symptoms of agitation, confusion, hallucinations, sweating, hyperthermia, tachycardia, abdominal pain, and periods of vomiting and diarrhea that cause dehydration. It also can increase phospholipids, creatine kinase (CPK), rhabdomyolysis, or even lead to death. These signs and complications of the patients were studied. In our study, the most common symptoms included midriasis (41.9%), vomiting (41.9%), chills (29%), and diarrhea (22%). Patient outcomes including recovery without complications, recovery with complications (rhabdomyolysis), and mortality were recorded, and all patients in both groups were discharged without complications.

One limitation of the study was ignoring the interval between the last drug use and naltrexone use as an antagonist. The authors believe it may be involved in the severity of withdrawal symptoms, and due to the lack of a detailed drug history, it was impossible to determine such a relationship.

Considering the high prevalence of agitation in the poisoning emergency department due to inappropriate use of naltrexone, more accurate planning for administration of nalteroxone in addicts seems necessary.

 
  References Top

1.
Ferrari A, Bertolotti M, Dell'Utri A, Avico U, Sternieri E. Serum course of naltrexone and 6 beta-naltrexone levels during long-term treatment in drug addicts. Drug Alcohol Depend 1998;52:211-20.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Littleton J, Zieglgansberger W. Pharmacological mechanisms of naltrexone and acamprosate in the prevention of relapse in alcohol dependence. Am J Addict 2003;12:3-11.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Kleber HD. Pharmacologic treatments for opioid dependence: Detoxification and maintenance options. Dialogues Clin Neurosci 2007;9:455-70.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Krupitsky EM, Zvartau EE, Masalov DV, Tsoy MV, Burakov AM, Egorova VY, et al. Naltrexone with or without fluoxetine for preventing relapse to heroin addiction in St. Petersburg, Russia. J Subst Abuse Treat 2006;31:319-28.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
O'Connor PG, Kosten TR. Rapid and ultrarapid opioid detoxification techniques. JAMA 1998;279:229-34.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Boyce SH, Armstrong PAR, Stevenson J. Effect of inappropriate naltrexone use in a heroin misuser. Emerg Med J 2003;20:381-2.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Lobmaier P, Gossop M, Waal H, Bramness J. The pharmacological treatment of opioid addiction: A clinical perspective. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 2010;66:537-45.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Mannelli P, De Risio S, Pozzi G, Janiri L, De Giacomo M. Serendipitous rapid detoxification from opiates: The importance of time-dependent processes. Addiction 1999;94:589-91.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
De Giacomo M, Gaspari R, Stefanelli A, Barelli A, Mannelli P. Emergency therapeutical approach simulating ultrarapid opioid detoxification in methadone withdrawal precipitated by erroneous administration of naltrexone. Eur J Emerg Med 1999;6:153-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Bristow K, Meek M, Clark N. Acute opioid withdrawal in the emergency department: Inadvertent naltrexone abuse. Emerg Med 2001;13:359-63.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Quigley MA, Boyce SH. Unintentional rapid opioid detoxification. Emerg Med J 2001;18:494-5.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Jacobi J, Fraser GL, Coursin DB, Riker RR, Fontaine D, Wittbrodt ET, et al. Clinical guidelines for the sustained use of sedatives and analgesics in the critically ill adult. Crit Care Med 2002;30:119-41.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Sessler CN, Gosnell MS, Grap MJ, Brophy GM, O'Neal PV, Keane KA, et al. The Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale: Validity and reliability in adult intensive care unit patients. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2002;166:1338-44.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Pinelli A, Cighetti G, Trivulzio S. Plasma malondialdehyde levels and opiate withdrawal signs observed in rats treated with morphine plus naloxone: Effects of alpha-lipoic acid administration. Fundam Clin Pharmacol 2008;22:439-45.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Ruan X, Chen T, Gudin J, Couch JP, Chiravuri S. Acute opioid withdrawal precipitated by ingestion of crushed embeda (morphine extended release with sequestered naltrexone): Case report and the focused review of the literature. J Opioid Manag 2010;6:300-3.  Back to cited text no. 15
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]



 

Top
Previous article  Next article
 
  Search
 
Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

 
  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
Materials and me...
Results
Discussion
References
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed755    
    Printed12    
    Emailed0    
    PDF Downloaded108    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal