In the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues (F/FA) are estimated to be responsible for over 70% of all overdoses. It is estimated that 196 Americans die every day and the Centers for Disease Control has declared F/FA the deadliest drugs in America. Opioid overdose is the most common cause of death in young adults (18-50 years) in the USA, and was behind >100,000 deaths in 2021. Both intentional and unintentional abuse of fentanyl, as well as overdoses caused by exposure to use, occur in all social classes in the USA.
The AntiFENT project aims to develop a new product to reverse fentanyl overdoses. The project is based on research from NMBU and represents a new, potentially life-saving way of treating fentanyl overdoses by reversing motor activity triggered by fentanyl. Approved treatment for opioid overdose today is naloxone. Naloxone spray is widespread and provides a high survival rate for heroin overdoses. Unfortunately, naloxone has shown a lower effect on F/FA overdoses. Recent research shows that naloxone has less effect in reversing motor activity linked to fentanyl overdose, and that this may explain the high mortality associated with fentanyl abuse. The project's long-term goal is to help reduce deaths caused by fentanyl overdoses.