The digital therapeutics arm of Orexo has teamed up with internet pharmacy company GoGoMeds to distribute its programs for substance abuse and depression under new rules from the FDA that aim to expand the use of virtual therapies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This past April, the agency said it would relax its requirements for certain digital health products that can reduce physical contact and potential exposure between users and healthcare professionals, as more people turn to remote technologies and telehealth to avoid the spreading coronavirus.
“Social distancing has significantly raised awareness and demand for digital therapies and online pharmacies to provide much-needed solutions for mental health issues, concerning problematic drinking patterns, depression and opioid addiction,” the two companies said in a statement, adding that the threat of COVID-19 has exacerbated the conditions that can lead to mental stress, substance misuse or relapse.
Sweden-based Orexo will be offering three web-based treatment platforms in the U.S.: Vorvida, designed to change drinking patterns; Deprexis, for managing depression; and OXD01 later this year, for the treatment of opioid use disorders. Each is designed to deliver an individualized course of therapy, with content tailored by the company’s artificial intelligence programs.
The company’s partnership with GoGoMeds will work to make the programs available through addiction services at the state level, including through court systems and private employers.
"Resources to treat mental health and addictions, which were already strained, have been overwhelmed by the pandemic," said Dennis Urbaniak, executive vice president of digital therapeutics at Orexo, which also markets Zubsolv, a tablet combination of buprenorphine and naloxone for opioid use disorder.
"We have long seen digital therapeutics as an integral and innovative part of the healthcare landscape, partnering with GoGoMeds will allow us to bring these solutions to the people that critically need them," Urbaniak said.