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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 7120815, 7 pages
Review Article

Opioid Addiction: Social Problems Associated and Implications of Both Current and Possible Future Treatments, including Polymeric Therapeutics for Giving Up the Habit of Opioid Consumption

1Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2University Institute of Industrial Pharmacy, Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to M. Cristina Benéitez

Received 30 November 2016; Revised 20 February 2017; Accepted 23 April 2017; Published 18 May 2017

Academic Editor: Witold Musial

Copyright © 2017 M. Cristina Benéitez and M. Esther Gil-Alegre. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Detoxification programmes seek to implement the most secure and compassionate ways of withdrawing from opiates so that the inevitable withdrawal symptoms and other complications are minimized. Once detoxification has been achieved, the next stage is to enable the patient to overcome his or her drug addiction by ensuring consumption is permanently and completely abandoned, only after which can the subject be regarded as fully recovered. Methods. A systematic search on the common databases of relevant papers published until 2016 inclusive. Results and Conclusion. Our study of the available oral treatments for opioid dependence has revealed that no current treatment can actually claim to be fully effective. These treatments require daily oral administration and, consequently, regular visits to dispensaries, which in most cases results in a lack of patient compliance, which causes fluctuations in drug plasma levels. We then reviewed alternative treatments in the available scientific literature on polymeric sustained release formulations. Research has been done not only on release systems for detoxification but also on release systems for giving up the habit of taking opioids. These efforts have obtained the recent authorization of polymeric systems for use in patients that could help them to reduce their craving for drugs.