Breaking News
More () »

FDA approves drug to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms

The drug, developed in Louisville, could be part of the solution to Kentucky's opioid crisis.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It could be a game changer in the fight against opioid addiction. A local pharmaceutical company has just gotten FDA approval for a new medicine that could be part of the solution.

The opioid crisis isn’t letting up its grip on Kentucky.

“We really haven't seen a decline. We are still turning away 200 to 300 men a month from our detox from our open access beds,” said Karyn Hascal of The Healing Place.

Those with the drug recovery center The Healing Place are reminded of the opioid addiction crisis watching their clients go through withdrawal.

“I laid in the bed for seven days, body aching my mind obsessing over trying to make myself feel well again,” said recovering addict Christopher Saylor.

There is a Louisville company in the east end of town working to make that pain go away. They have a new prescription out that could help those addicted to opioids.

“I'm really, really excited for the opportunities we may have and the difference we may be able to make,” said Dr. Mark Pirner, Senior Medical Director of Clinical Research for US WorldMeds.

US WorldMeds recently got federal approval for the first non-opioid and non-habit forming drug called Lucemyra to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal.

The sickness of withdrawal - in part - keeps addicts using so they don't feel bad. Without the nausea and aches, the hope is those addicted can come off drugs with Lucemyra and additional counseling.

“Unfortunately Kentucky is one of the states experiencing major problems with the opioid crisis. We are able to bring a solution and produce it here in Kentucky also,” said H. Lee Warren, Chief Operating Officer of US WorldMeds.

“This one actually works at the root cause to reduce the output of the brain of what’s driving the symptoms of withdrawal. It's a short-term treatment that lasts for up to 14 days,” said Dr Pirner.

They say it's the first of its kind medication.

Executives with the company say the drug will be produced in Winchester and will be available in August, but a price has not been set yet. WorldMeds plans to hire 50 more people to launch the product.

Before You Leave, Check This Out