Focusing Medication Development to Treat Opioid Use Disorder and Prevent/Reverse Overdose


More flexible treatment options for opioid use disorder (OUD) are needed to promote long-term recovery in more patients. Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat OUD, and lofexidine is approved to treat opioid withdrawal, but many people do not receive these medications or take them for only a short time, making it difficult to achieve long-term recovery. Naloxone can effectively reverse opioid overdose, but multiple doses can be required to reverse respiratory arrest caused by drug combinations or powerful synthetic opioids.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is conducting a series of targeted studies with the goal of producing approximately 15 Investigational New Drugs (INDs) and five New Drug Applications (NDAs) submitted to FDA.

This project will accelerate the development of novel medications and devices to treat all aspects of the opioid addiction cycle, including progression to chronic use, withdrawal symptoms, craving, relapse, and overdose. Specifically, this will include:

  • New formulations of existing medications
  • Stronger, longer duration formulations to counteract opioid overdose
  • Interventions against respiratory depression
  • Novel medications, immunotherapies, and devices to treat withdrawal, craving, progression, and relapse
  • New medication targets to treat OUD.

Supporting NIH Institutes and Centers

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


Medications Development for Opioid Use Disorders and for Overdose Prevention and Reversal - 6/5/17


Dr. Ivan Montoya   

This page last reviewed on September 18, 2019