New Wearable Gadget May Assist Stop Overdose Deaths

Jan. 27, 2022 — It’s no secret {that a} explicit public well being epidemic has solely gotten worse in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic: drug overdose deaths. From Could 2020 to April 2021, greater than 100,000 individuals within the U.S. died from a drug overdose, in response to the CDC. About 64% of these deaths had been from opioids, principally fentanyl.

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

It is attainable to reverse an opioid overdose with the drug naloxone, but it surely needs to be given as quickly as somebody reveals 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 chance of dying is far larger. This prompted the researchers to develop an auto-injector system that individuals with opioid use dysfunction can put on towards their stomach. The brand new gadget works so much 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 gadget in volunteers in two environments and printed their findings within the journal Scientific Studies in November.

One of many take a look at websites was a supervised injection clinic in Vancouver, Canada, the place individuals with habit can use IV medicine with a skilled medical skilled current. Twenty-five volunteers wore the gadget 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 take a look at, the gadgets did inject a naloxone dose once 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 members had their blood taken to verify the small dose of drug entered their bloodstream.

The brand new research reveals that the gadget acts because it ought to and delivers the proper dose into an individual’s circulatory system. That stated, extra research is required earlier than the researchers can apply for approval from the FDA. Additionally, along with extra exams on the gadgets’ security and effectiveness, the researchers have to know the way snug the gadgets are to put on and whether or not they’re hidden sufficient from view that individuals with an opioid habit can be keen to put on them.

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