Insomnia drug shows promise in preventing opioid addiction

A medication used to treat insomnia, suvorexant, has shown potential in preventing opioid addiction in mice, according to a new study published in Nature Mental Health. Researchers administered both suvorexant and morphine to the mice and found that suvorexant blocked receptors linked to mood and addiction. As a result, the drug reduced opioid-induced brain inflammation, addictive behaviors, and withdrawal symptoms.

Researchers say further studies are needed to determine if suvorexant could benefit people battling opioid use disorder (OUD). While suvorexant is typically used to induce sleep, the mice were given lower doses to ensure they remained alert.

The United States is currently facing an opioid abuse epidemic, with an estimated 2.7 million Americans struggling with OUD, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.