Dr. Thomas Kosten, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, added at the news conference: "The participants in some cases were taking up to 10 times the usual dose but weren't getting a high from it and eventually ran out of money."
According to background information in the study, which appears in the October issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, 2.5 million people in the United States are currently addicted to cocaine, yet only 809,000 of them are getting treatment. This type of addiction accounts for a full third of visits to emergency departments.
There are currently no approved drug therapies for cocaine addiction, although a variety of behavioral therapies are used.
Unlike methadone -- another opiate sometimes referred to as "medical heroin" -- the new vaccine actually affixes itself to cocaine, thereby rendering the drug useless, Bidlack explained.
The relatively short (six-month) trial was led by Dr. Bridget A. Martell, of Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, and Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven. The study involved 94 adults, mostly white men, who were users of crack cocaine and who were in methadone maintenance programs for opioid addiction.
Participants were randomly assigned to receive five shots, either a placebo or the actual vaccine.
Thirty-eight percent of participants achieved the desired level of antibodies or higher. This group also had more "clean" urine samples than those with lower antibody levels and those in the placebo group (45 percent versus 35 percent).
Higher levels were first seen at week eight and then dropped off precipitously between weeks 16 and 24, the researchers found.
Side effects wer
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