Minor pathological changes are induced by naltrexone-poly(DL-lactide) implants in pregnant rats
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Oral naltrexone is used to treat alcohol and heroin dependence but is associated with poor patient compliance. Sustained-release preparations have been developed to overcome noncompliance. Many sustained-release preparations are composed of polymers combined with naltrexone. Limited data indicate that polymers induce variable levels of tissue reactivity and that naltrexone may increase this effect. A slow-release subcutaneous naltrexone-poly (DL-lactide) implant is currently being trialed to treat heroin dependence in Western Australia. A minority of women fall pregnant and, although tissue reactivity in nonpregnant humans is relatively minor, detailed chronological data during pregnancy are lacking. Histological changes in pregnant rats were assessed; a single active tablet containing poly[trans-3,6-dimethyl-1,4-dioxyane-2,5-dione] (DL-lactide) loaded with 25 mg of naltrexone was implanted subcutaneously, and tissue response was compared with inactive polymer implantation. Rats were timed mated at 13-26 days postimplant. Tissue assessment up to 75 days by a pathologist showed that naltrexone induced chronic inflammatory response in a dose-dependent manner, although still at a low level. Furthermore, for inactive implants, minimal foreign body reaction and fibrosis, together with low-level inflammation, suggested good longterm biocompatibility. We conclude that the Australian naltrexone-poly(DL-lactide) implant is tolerated in pregnant rats, reinforcing its potential role for managing alcohol and heroin dependence in pregnant humans. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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