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Drug company developing tongue tab to help curb opioid addiction

(BioXcel Therapeutics Photo)

SCOTTSDALE — Imagine a thin tab that dissolves under your tongue and can help curb opioid addiction.

Patients may not want pills that look like the ones that addicted them.

“And part of the syndrome with withdrawal is nausea and vomiting, so pills can be a problem if you’re not able to swallow them,” Dr. Robert Risinger, vice president of clinical development with BioXcel Therapeutics, said Wednesday at the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology annual meeting in Scottsdale.

He also says the tabs — now in development by the Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company — use a mild form of the anesthetic dexmedetomidine to make withdrawals gradual, so nervous systems don’t crave more opioids.

“It also has a calming effect without affecting respiration,” Risinger said. “It’s been a relatively safe drug.”

Risinger and his group met with FDA officials during the conference and are hoping to get their approval within two years.

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