FDA clears addiction drug to treat narcotic abuse, US

Drugmaker Alkermes Inc. says it has received U.S. approval to market its addiction medication for use in patients addicted to narcotics like heroin and morphine.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the company's drug Vivitrol as a monthly injection to treat addiction to opioids, highly addictive drugs often abused for their euphoric effects. Vivitrol is already approved for alcoholism.

The drug is designed to block brain receptors that deliver the pleasurable sensations associated with alcohol and drug abuse.

The FDA approved the drug based on company studies that showed patients taking Vivitrol were more likely to be free of opioids than those taking a dummy injection. The typical Vivitrol patient reported opioid-free urine samples 90 percent of the time, compared with 35 percent for those not taking the drug.