Type to search

Study: Hydromorphone Reduces Heroin Cravings

Study: Hydromorphone Reduces Heroin Cravings

A study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry found that hydromorphone—a licensed pain medication—reduced heroin cravings and is an effective treatment for chronic heroin addiction. 


The four-year, double-blind study consisted of 202 participants who “had been using street heroin for an average of fifteen years and had unsuccessfully attempted to overcome their addictions with methadone maintenance on several occasions” (Ackerman, 2016). Participants were given either hydromorphone or diacetylmorphine, which is pharmaceutical-grade heroin, but they didn’t know which. The study found that both hydromorphone and diacetylmorphine were “equally effective in reducing heroin cravings” (Ackerman, 2016). Drug consumption dropped from approximately daily use to a few times per month, and illegal activities dropped from an average of fourteen per month to less than four per month. 


The study’s results could help heroin-assisted treatment because of the more easily accessible and equally effective hydromorphone. 






Ackerman, M. (2016). Hydromorphone found to reduce heroin cravings, study says. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/hydromorphone-found-reduce-heroin-cravings-study-says