Our opioid addiction treatment has ‘best days’ ahead

Our opioid addiction treatment has 'best days' ahead

As a biotechnology company with long-term prospects, Alkermes’ treatments don’t regularly make headlines.

But after years of steady growth for its leading drugs — Vivitrol, which treats opioid addiction, and Aristada, which treats schizophrenia — 2018 will be a year of milestones, Alkermes CEO Richard Pops told CNBC on Monday.

“I think the best days of Vivitrol are still ahead of it,” Pops told “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer. “It’s building into becoming one of the more important medicines for the treatment of this condition.”

One of the three FDA-approved medicines for treating opioid dependence, Vivitrol specifically prevents relapses to opioid dependence.

The injection is meant for detoxed patients who want to avoid relapsing to physical dependence on opioids, a treatment long viewed as an “outlier” next to more traditional medicines, Pops said.

But as opioid-related hospital deaths rise and the federal government rallies lawmakers around the cause, Vivitrol is increasingly taking center-stage as a reliable and effective treatment.

“Just last quarter there was a major government study that was published that showed the efficacy of Vivitrol compared to these existing medicines and showing how well patients do on it over time,” Pops said. “I think we’re making a big impact in addiction now, finally, after all these years.”

Pops spoke from J.P. Morgan’s 36th annual health care conference. Alkermes will officially present its clinical trial results and forward-looking guidance at the conference on Tuesday.

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