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Opiate cocktail may spare cells from morphine's dark side

ce of activated MOP receptors at the cell surface, the authors developed a drug cocktail containing morphine along with two chemical versions of the opioid methadone, which is tolerated, with limited side effects, at low doses.

The authors indeed found that the combination of morphine with the methadone mixture prevented the activation of cellular signaling pathways associated with morphine tolerance and dependence. They also showed, perhaps most importantly, that whereas rats receiving only morphine develop tolerance to the drug, those rats receiving the morphine/methadone cocktail did not show tolerance. Moreover, past work has not indicated whether the promotion of MOP-receptor internalization could prevent the development of morphine dependence, but in the new study, the authors discovered that rats receiving the morphine/methadone cocktail also experienced reduced morphine dependence.

In light of their findings, the authors propose that an opiate cocktail that combines morphine with small doses of methadone would increase the effectiveness of morphine for the treatment of chronic pain.

He, L., and Whistler, J.L. (2005). An Opiate Cocktail that Reduces Morphine Tolerance and Dependence. DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2005.04.052 Publishing in Current Biology, Vol. 15, June 7, 2005, pages 1028?033. www.current-biology.com


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Source:Cell Press


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