Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor in Ottawa on May 16, 2019. (Twitter)

Canada first in the world to approve injectable hydromorphone to treat opioid addiction

B.C. has had one of the only clinics in the country offering such a treatment to a small group of people

Health Canada has approved injectable hydromorphone as the latest option when treating patients with severe opioid use disorder.

Canada is the first country in the world to approve the drug, commonly used for severe pain management, to gain control over the opioid crisis killing three people a day in B.C. alone.

Health Canada said in a news release Wednesday that 10,337 people have died from fatal overdoses since 2016. Roughly 4,000 of those deaths occurred in B.C.

“Increased access to a safe supply of prescription opioids is an innovative tool that will help save lives,” Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in a statement on her social media accounts.

READ MORE: Inside Crosstown Clinic, the only clinic to offer patients legal heroin

READ MORE: Carfentanil, an opioid more toxic than fentanyl, linked to more deaths in B.C.

In late April, the ministry announced that provincial governments could import diacetylmorphine – prescription heroin – to use as a treatment option, although the drug is not yet authorized to be sold in Canada.

“Studies have shown that injectable hydromorphone and diacetylmorphine are important drugs that can help stabilize and support the health of some patients with severe opioid use disorder, including increased retention in treatment programs,” the ministry said.

“Both of these drugs are used in substance use disorder treatment in other countries with recognized success.”

In B.C., Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver has been the only facility offering these kinds of treatment over the past four years.

As many as 130 patients use prescription heroin at any given time, and are typically “long-term drug users,” averaging about 15 years, who have been through treatment more than 10 times but haven’t seen any success.

Health Canada’s new rules include that injectable hydromorphone must be administered under the supervision of an experienced physician who is trained in injectable opioid treatments.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

CSRD to support cannabis growth in agricultural zones

Regional district revision brings policy in line with Agricultural Land Commission

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Showers to start weekend, sun returning soon

Environment Canada forecasts rain on Saturday and the heat returning next week

South Shuswap residents kick waste collection concept to the curb

Area C residents prefer existing depot system, suggest more enforcement

Plaques provide historical view of Salmon Arm landmarks

City heritage plaques added to Fletcher Park, Mount Ida Cemetery and Fairgrounds

In photos: Parade kicks off Girls Only Soccer Camp World Cup fun tournament

Players split into 11 countries for music and dance-filled parade, followed by tourney

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Donkeys await your hugs and scritches at anniversary event

Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge invites public to help celebrate 20 years of care.

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Okanagan resident’s alleged stolen dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

Most Read