University of Cyprus: Revolutionary research for the treatment of opioid addiction in Cyprus

A pioneering study entitled, “Effectiveness of Ketamine for the Prevention of Relapse in Patients with Opioid Use Disorders – PROUD” is underway in Cyprus, under the coordination of the University of Cyprus and in collaboration with the State Health Services Organisation (SHSO). This research, the first of its kind in our country, aims to investigate an innovative therapeutic approach for the treatment of opioid dependence.

Opioid abuse is a serious epidemic worldwide, with relapse rates after abstinence reaching 85-91%. Existing treatments show limited effectiveness, making the need for new, more effective solutions imperative. Ketamine, a drug known for its powerful antidepressant effect, has shown promising results in reducing symptoms of depression and suicidal tendencies in several clinical studies, while side effects are minimal. This drug is always administered with proper medical supervision.

This research aims to bridge the gap in the treatment of opioid use disorders by testing the administration of ketamine as a means of preventing relapse in patients with opioid use disorders, combining its antidepressant properties with its ability to reduce relapse rates. Participants in the study will have the opportunity to benefit significantly from this new therapeutic approach which may significantly improve their quality of life. Ketamine, which is used as part of the treatment, when administered in low doses, appears to reduce relapse rates, offering a new hope for full recovery.

Our research is an important step towards improving treatment options for patients with opioid dependence.

The project is being conducted at the “GEFYRA” Substitution Unit at the Athalassa Psychiatric Hospital. The principal investigator is Dr. Panos Zanos, Assistant Professor in Neuropharmacology at the Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus, while the research team includes renowned scientists from the fields of psychiatry, such as Dr. Demos Fotopoulos (Gefyra Substitution Unit), Dr. Andreas Hadjitofis (Faculty of Medicine, University of Cyprus) and Dr. Eva Bella (Faculty of Medicine, University of Cyprus), Psychology, such as Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Georgia Panayiotou (Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus) and Neuroscience, such as Dr. Anna Onisiforou (Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus). The research project is ongoing and remains open for inclusion of patients who meet the study criteria.

For more information, please contact Dr. Panos Zanos, Assistant Professor of Neuropharmacology, Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus, at email: or phone: 22892243.

Source: University of Cyprus | Latest news (