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Report: Researchers Studying Naltrexone for Treatment of COVID-19 Symptoms

May 18, 2020

Researchers from Beaumont Health System in Michigan are studying whether a medication used to treat opioid addiction can be used to help manage symptoms of individuals with a COVID-19 infection, according to a report from WDET-FM, Detroit’s NPR affiliate.

Matthew Sims, MD, PhD, chief infectious disease researcher, and his team at Beaumont are studying whether naltrexone, as well as the anesthetic ketamine, could reduce swelling in the body of COVID-19 patients.

In the two-part study, patients receiving 6 liters of oxygen or less will be randomly selected to receive either naltrexone or a placebo. Patients whose condition worsens and requires additional oxygen will then be given ketamine. In the second segment of the study, patients already receiving high levels of oxygen will be given both naltrexone and ketamine (no placebo).

“What we’re really looking to do is prevent people from getting to that phase where their lives are at risk,” Sims tells NPR. “And if their lives are at risk, we want to give them additional medication to pull them back to where they’re safe.”

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