SAN DIEGO, March 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MediciNova, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that is publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Market (Nasdaq:MNOV) and the Jasdaq Market of the Osaka Securities Exchange (Code Number: 4875), today announced that data from a Phase 1b/2a study of MN-166 (ibudilast) in opioid withdrawal and analgesia will be presented during a poster session from 5:30p.m. to 7:00p.m. at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting in San Diego on March 21, 2013. "MN-166 is an intriguing compound that has the potential to help opioid and heroin addicts cease their opioid use with reduced withdrawal symptoms," said Sandra Comer, Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Neurobiology in the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and principal investigator of the study. "The preliminary safety and efficacy data generated by this clinical trial provided the necessary information to launch the NIDA-funded Phase 2a clinical trial of MN-166 in prescription opioid or heroin abusers that is currently underway. We are excited to be a part of this critical research that may provide new options for these patients." Dr. Comer will present "A Drug Candidate for Improving Opioid Analgesia and Attenuating Dependence and Tolerance: An Exploratory Trial of Ibudilast in Morphine Withdrawal and Analgesia in Heroin Addicts" on March 21 at the AAN. Preliminary data analyses from this study were presented in 2011 at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence meeting and the current presentation includes final data analyses. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there are approximately 1.4 million people with nonmedical pain reliever dependence and approximately 369,000 people with heroin dependence in the U.S. The economic costs of nonmedical use of prescription opioids in the U.S. was estimated at $53.4 billion in 2006, according to a study published in The Clinical Journal of Pain (Hansen RN et al., 2011 Mar-Apr; 27(3):194-202). Most of the medications currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid dependence are opioid agonists that carry the risk of secondary dependence or abuse and have opioid-related safety risks.