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New Wearable System Might Assist Stop Overdose Deaths

Jan. 27, 2022 — It’s no secret {that a} specific public well being epidemic has solely gotten worse throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: drug overdose deaths. From Could 2020 to April 2021, greater than 100,000 individuals within the U.S. died from a drug overdose, in accordance with the CDC. About 64% of these deaths had been from opioids, largely fentanyl.

To scale back these deaths, researchers from the College of Washington have developed a brand new wearable machine that may inform when an individual is overdosing from opioids.

It is attainable to reverse an opioid overdose with the drug naloxone, but it surely must be given as quickly as somebody reveals indicators of an overdose or stops respiratory. If an individual is having an overdose alone, or if nobody close by has a naloxone dose or the coaching to manage it, that particular person’s chance of dying is way higher. This prompted the researchers to develop an auto-injector system that folks with opioid use dysfunction can put on in opposition to their stomach. The brand new machine works loads like an insulin pump.

It has sensors to detect respiratory patterns and is programmed to acknowledge the indicators of slowed or stopped respiratory and motion. If the sensors detect life-threatening respiratory signs that imply an overdose, it triggers a shot of naloxone. The researchers examined the machine in volunteers in two environments and printed their findings within the journal Scientific Reports in November.

One of many check websites was a supervised injection clinic in Vancouver, Canada, the place individuals with dependancy can use IV medication with a educated medical skilled current. Twenty-five volunteers wore the machine to make sure it precisely measured their respiratory patterns whereas utilizing opioids, however the units weren’t programmed to ship the naloxone.

The opposite website was a hospital the place 20 volunteers who didn’t take opioids wore the units and held their breath for 15 seconds to imitate the symptom of stopping respiratory. Throughout this check, the units did inject a naloxone dose once they sensed that the particular person had not moved for a minimum of 15 seconds.

Naloxone attaches to opioid receptors and reverses and blocks the results of different opioids if they’ve been consumed. After the photographs, the individuals had their blood taken to verify the small dose of drug entered their bloodstream.

The brand new research reveals that the machine acts because it ought to and delivers the proper dose into an individual’s circulatory system. That stated, extra research is required earlier than the researchers can apply for approval from the FDA. Additionally, along with extra exams on the units’ security and effectiveness, the researchers must understand how snug the units are to put on and whether or not they’re hidden sufficient from view that folks with an opioid dependancy can be prepared to put on them.

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