New Wearable Gadget Might Assist Forestall Overdose Deaths

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

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

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

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

One of many check websites was a supervised injection clinic in Vancouver, Canada, the place folks with dependancy can use IV medication with a skilled medical skilled current. Twenty-five volunteers wore the gadget to make sure it precisely measured their respiration 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 respiration. Throughout this check, the units did inject a naloxone dose once they sensed that the individual had not moved for no less than 15 seconds.

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

The brand new examine reveals that the gadget acts because it ought to and delivers the suitable dose into an individual’s circulatory system. That mentioned, extra examine 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 comfy the units are to put on and whether or not they’re hidden sufficient from view that folks with an opioid dependancy can be keen to put on them.

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