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New Wearable Gadget Might Assist Forestall Overdose Deaths

Jan. 27, 2022 — It’s no secret {that a} specific public well being epidemic has solely gotten worse throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: drug overdose deaths. From Could 2020 to April 2021, greater than 100,000 folks within the U.S. died from a drug overdose, in line with 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 machine that may inform when an individual is overdosing from opioids.

It is doable to reverse an opioid overdose with the drug naloxone, however it must be given as quickly as somebody exhibits indicators of an overdose or stops respiration. 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 way 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 machine works quite a bit like an insulin pump.

It has sensors to detect respiration patterns and is programmed to acknowledge the indicators of slowed or stopped respiration and motion. If the sensors detect life-threatening respiration signs that imply an overdose, it triggers a shot of naloxone. The researchers examined the machine in volunteers in two environments and revealed their findings within the journal Scientific Reviews in November.

One of many take a look at websites was a supervised injection clinic in Vancouver, Canada, the place folks with dependancy can use IV medicine with a skilled medical skilled current. Twenty-five volunteers wore the machine to make sure it precisely measured their respiration 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 respiration. Throughout this take a look at, the gadgets did inject a naloxone dose after they sensed that the particular person had not moved for a minimum of 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 examine exhibits that the machine acts because it ought to and delivers the appropriate dose into an individual’s circulatory system. That mentioned, extra examine is required earlier than the researchers can apply for approval from the FDA. Additionally, along with extra checks on the gadgets’ security and effectiveness, the researchers have to understand how snug the gadgets are to put on and whether or not they’re hidden sufficient from view that individuals with an opioid dependancy could be prepared to put on them.

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