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The opioid crisis continues to rage across the United States, affecting millions of Americans each year. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), The first wave began with increased prescribing of opioids in the 1990s, with overdose deaths involving prescription opioids (natural and semi-synthetic opioids and methadone) increasing since at least 1999 and has quintupled since then. It is a public health crisis of epic proportions, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Common responses to this epidemic have been to improve opioid prescribing, reduce exposure to opioids, prevent misuse, and treat opioid use disorder.
But Deaths involving illicit drugs and prescription opioids have risen since 2017, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the problem a public health emergency. The count of reported overdose deaths hit 68,000 in 2020 and rose to more than 80,000 by 2021. Using simulation modeling with state and federal data, researchers projected the number of opioid overdose deaths (OODs) could decrease significantly in New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Ohio if the states employed a combination of interventions, such as treatment and medications for opioid use disorder, increasing the availability of naloxone for reversing overdoses, and reducing prescription opioid misuse.
This is where Pharmaceutical Scientists like Dr. Nagireddy Dumpa come in. He is one of a handful of researchers striving tirelessly to develop a pharmaceutical revolution that targets the less commonly focused element of these opioid drugs – formulations with drug-abuse or easy tampering potential.
Dr. Nagireddy Dumpa, a PhD student then at the University of Mississippi, and now a pharmaceutical scientist worked on the development of a technique that focused on the elimination of drug-abuse potential from a drug’s formulation to mitigate and/or reduce drug abuse. This article takes a closer look at his and his team’s pioneering work in the development of abuse-deterrent drug delivery systems and how their innovative approaches play a pivotal role in addressing this nation-wide challenge. Dr. Dumpa was part of a research team with Dr. Arun Butreddy, Dr. Sandeep Sarabu, Dr. Suresh Bandari, and Dr. Michael A Repka. Their research primarily focused on the development of drug delivery systems, with an emphasis on creating formulations with abuse-deterrent potential. Aiming to deter the misuse and abuse of opioids, his research introduced sophisticated dosage forms that were resistant to tampering and manipulation attempts, such as physical crushing or thermal manipulation (heating via a household microwave or other forms). The resistant nature of these dosage forms impede the ability of opioid abusers to extract the active ingredients at once, thereby curbing illicit usage.
Employing polyethylene oxide and a unique combination of gelling agents, Dr. Dumpa formulated dosage forms that presented a significant barrier to potential abusers. These dosage forms were highly resistant to dose dumping even in the presence of 40% ethanol and were challenging to inject using a syringe, courtesy of the high viscosity of the polyethylene oxide and gelling agents.
The potential impact of Dr. Dumpa’s work is immense. With approximately 16 million Americans abusing prescription drugs annually, the advent of abuse-deterrent formulations could play a significant role in curbing this alarming trend. His contributions stand at the forefront of scientific efforts to combat the opioid crisis, offering a proactive and innovative solution.
But the story of Dr. Dumpa’s research doesn’t stop at abuse deterrent formulations. Throughout his career, he has developed several novel and advanced dosage forms, employing an environmentally friendly and cost-effective technique known as hot melt extrusion technology. This technology provides numerous benefits, including sustainability and economic advantages, lending further value to Dr. Dumpa’s research.
A cornerstone of Dr. Dumpa’s research is the co-crystal approach using hot melt extrusion technology. In one of his significant research studies, he enhanced solubility and bioavailability of Aripiprazole, a model acidic drug, using adipic acid as a basic co-former. This achievement is not merely academic; it has profound implications for the field of pharmaceutical sciences and offers potential solutions to the challenges posed by poorly soluble drugs.
Besides, his diligent efforts in documenting and publishing his research findings have earned him a respected place in the global scientific community. His work has been cited over 430 times worldwide, serving as a testament to the significant impact his research has had in the field of pharmaceutical sciences.
The value of his work is more than the number of times it has been cited. It has the potential to address critical challenges in the pharmaceutical field, such as opioid abuse, drug solubility, and formulation design. Dr. Dumpa’s research provides innovative solutions to these challenges, enhancing patient outcomes, improving drug efficacy, and bolstering the United States’ competitiveness in the global pharmaceutical market.
Dr. Dumpa has a record of creating innovative solutions that directly contribute to the betterment of patient care. A testament to his ingenuity is a liquid drug product he formulated during his time at BIODURO-SUNDIA, which has shown promising results in animal populations and is currently undergoing patent application. The introduction of this drug could positively impact the lives of millions of patients worldwide.
With a Ph.D. thesis that focused on the development of novel drug delivery systems using hot melt extrusion technology, Dr. Dumpa has continued to advance the field of pharmaceutical sciences. He has addressed the challenge of low bioavailability with a small molecule inhibitor of the salt-inducible kinase 2 and 3 (SIK2, SIK3), enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of this promising ovarian cancer treatment.
Furthermore, Dr. Dumpa has made significant contributions to the development of personalized dosage forms using fused deposition modeling 3D printing technology. His work has been recognized by researchers worldwide, serving as a beacon of inspiration for those looking to make strides in the development of personalized therapeutic strategies.
In conclusion, Dr. Nagireddy Dumpa’s research contributions, particularly in developing abuse-deterrent formulations, serve as a beacon of hope in the face of the opioid crisis. His innovative approach to addressing this significant public health issue could lead to substantial progress in curbing opioid abuse, ultimately improving patient outcomes and strengthening the competitiveness of the United States in the global pharmaceutical industry. His work continues to inspire researchers across the globe and serves as a testament to the power of innovative scientific research in tackling some of our most pressing health crises.