Navigation Links
Experimental treatments for cocaine addiction may prevent relapse
Date:8/26/2010

Doctors have used the drug disulfiram to help patients stay sober for several decades. It interferes with the body's ability to metabolize alcohol, giving a fierce hangover to someone who consumes even a small amount of alcohol.

More recently, disulfiram was shown to be effective in treating cocaine addiction as well, even though alcohol and cocaine affect the nervous system in different ways.

Now, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have identified how disulfiram may exert its effects, and have shown that a newer drug with fewer side effects works by the same mechanism.

The results are published online this week by the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. Research assistant professor Jason Schroeder, PhD, and graduate student Debra Cooper are co-first authors of the paper, and the research also involved collaborations with P. Michael Iuvone, PhD, director of research at the Emory Eye Center, Gaylen Edwards, DVM, PhD, head of the department of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine, and Philip Holmes, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Georgia.

"Disulfiram has several effects on the body: it interferes with alcohol metabolism, but it inhibits several other enzymes by sequestering copper, and can also damage the liver," says senior author David Weinshenker, PhD, associate professor of human genetics at Emory University School of Medicine. "We wanted to figure out how disulfiram was working so we could come up with safer and potentially more effective treatments."

In treating cocaine addiction, there are several challenges: not only getting people to stop taking the drug, but also preventing relapse. Cocaine boosts the levels of several neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine, at the junctions between nerve cells by blocking the machinery the brain uses to remove them.

Under normal conditions, dopamine is important for the sensation of pleasure produced by natural rewards such as food or sex, Weinshenker says. Cocaine "hijacks" the dopamine system, which plays a large role in addiction. Similarly, norepinephrine has a role in attention and arousal, but its overactivation can trigger stress responses and relapse, he says.

Weinshenker's team showed that disulfiram prevents rats from seeking cocaine after a break, a model for addicts tempted to relapse. At the same time, it doesn't stop them from taking cocaine when first exposed to it, or from enjoying their food.

Disulfiram appears to work by inhibiting dopamine beta-hydroxylase, an enzyme required for the production of norepinephrine. A dose of disulfiram that lowers the levels of norepinephrine in the brain by about 40 percent is effective, while doses that do not reduce norepinephrine have no effect on relapse-like behavior in rats.

To confirm that the beneficial effects of disulfiram were because of dopamine beta-hydroxylase inhibition, the researchers turned to a drug called nepicastat, which was originally developed for the treatment of congestive heart failure in the 1990s.

"Nepicastat is a selective dopamine beta-hydroxylase inhibitor that does not sequester copper or impair a host of other enzymes like disulfiram," Weinshenker says. "We reasoned that if disulfiram is really working through dopamine beta-hydroxylase, then nepicastat might be a better alternative."

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have recently completed a Phase I safety trial studying nepicastat for the treatment of cocaine addiction in human subjects.


'/>"/>

Contact: Holly Korschun
404-727-3990
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Experimental Drug Offers Hope for Cystic Fibrosis Patients
2. Experimental Vaccine Shields Monkeys Against Ebola
3. Experimental targeted therapy shows early promise against medulloblastomas
4. Experimental nonsteroidal treatment of asthma shows promise
5. Experimental obesity drug avoids brain effects that troubled predecessors
6. Neuroimaging study may pave way for effective Alzheimers treatments
7. Charging less for more effective treatments could reduce health care costs while improving health
8. NIH grants to Childrens Hospital will advance novel stem cell treatments for blood disorders
9. Roseville Radiation Oncology Center (ROC) Redefines Efficiency With Elekta VMAT Radiotherapy Treatments
10. Two Sepsis Treatments Look Equally Effective
11. Heart Stem Cells Move Closer to Human Treatments
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/19/2017)... Calif. (PRWEB) , ... August 18, 2017 , ... Western ... in health and education to launch the University’s new Center for Innovation on Wednesday, ... WesternU Health Education Center Lecture Hall 1, followed by a technology exhibition from 1 ...
(Date:8/19/2017)... ... August 19, 2017 , ... Curl Keeper® is excited to ... Curl Leaders, Editors’ Choice 2017 Award for the second year in a row. The ... and curlies alike was voted Best Moisturizer for Type 2 Wavies and Best Refresher ...
(Date:8/19/2017)... ... August 19, 2017 , ... ... joined its Orlando location as an interventional pain management physician. He brings a ... the treatment of migraine headaches, and significant experience in spinal cord stimulation for ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... , ... ... ... For Immediate Release                Contact: ... Shows Young Women Seek Sex and Relationship Advice from their ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... 18, 2017 , ... Mediaplanet today announces the launch of ... and highlighting the importance of proactive eye and ear health. The campaign focuses ... innovations in hearing aid technology. , In this issue, the American Speech-Language-Hearing ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... Aug. 15, 2017   Mostyn Law and Gulf Coast ... Houston, Texas . The Mostyn Law family has ... years. That is why Mostyn Law is partnering with ... to show its appreciation. Blood supplies are running low. ... short of hospital needs in August. That is why the blood ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... and PETACH TIKVAH, Israel , Aug. ... a leading developer of adult stem cell technologies for ... ending June 30, 2017. ... for our pivotal Phase 3 trial to investigate NurOwn ... President and Chief Executive Officer of BrainStorm. "We have ...
(Date:8/7/2017)... Md. , Aug. 7, 2017 ... healthcare member acquisition, retention, and engagement, announced the ... of Strategy and Product Development, effective as of ... consulting and technology implementation strategy for our clients. ... of experience in consulting and business analytics within ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: