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Combining Buprenorphine and Naltrexone May Help Depression

Combining Buprenorphine and Naltrexone May Help Depression

Researchers at England’s University of Bath recently determined that a combination of buprenorphine and naltrexone could be used to effectively treat depression without the risk of addiction. 


The study, which was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, is significant because more research on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants is required as between 30 to 50 percent of people taking them “do not respond adequately” (Lavitt, 2015). 


Buprenorphine lessens the body’s stress response by inhibiting the kappa opioid receptor, but it also stimulates the mu opioid receptor, which can lead to addiction. Adding naltrexone, a drug which blocks the mu opioid receptor, to the mix can provide buprenorphine’s antidepressant effect without the addiction that can result as a long-term side effect. 


As the study has only just been conducted on mice, the University of Bath researchers stated that this combination of drugs will not be available for some time. 


Lavitt, J. (2015). New depression treatment possible by combining buprenorphine and naltrexone. Retrieved from http://www.thefix.com/new-depression-treatment-possible-combining-buprenorphine-and-naltrexone