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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 through the COVID-19 pandemic: drug overdose deaths. From Could 2020 to April 2021, greater than 100,000 folks within the U.S. died from a drug overdose, in accordance with the CDC. About 64% of these deaths had been from opioids, principally fentanyl.

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

It's potential to reverse an opioid overdose with the drug naloxone, nevertheless it needs to be given as quickly as somebody exhibits 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 probability 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 system works quite a bit 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 system in volunteers in two environments and revealed their findings within the journal Scientific Reports in November.

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

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

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

The brand new examine exhibits that the system 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 checks on the gadgets' security and effectiveness, the researchers have to understand how snug the gadgets are to put on and whether or not they’re hidden sufficient from view that folks with an opioid habit can be keen to put on them.

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