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New treatment effective in counteracting cocaine-induced symptoms
Date:8/13/2007

record sympathetic nerve activity following doses of intranasal cocaine.

Research subjects who were treated with dexmedetomidine had a decrease in sympathetic nerve activity as well as in all three cardiovascular parameters, which returned to baseline levels measured before administration of cocaine. Dexmedetomidine proved to be more effective than intravenous saline, which was used as a placebo in another group of study participants.

Cocaine abuse in the U.S. is widespread, with nearly 35 million Americans reporting having ever tried cocaine and an estimated 7.3 million users, including 15 percent of young adults ages 18 to 25, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Life-threatening emergencies related to cocaine use include sudden cardiac death, high blood pressure, stroke and acute myocardial infarctions.

We also found that dexmedetomidine was equally effective in counteracting effects of cocaine in subjects with a rare genetic mutation thought to disrupt the effects of dexmedetomidine, said Dr. Ronald Victor, professor of internal medicine and co-author of the study. Because this particular mutation is more common in African-Americans than in Caucasians, our study results are applicable to a more diverse, multiethnic population. Further research is needed, study authors said, to determine whether the treatment would be effective for acute cocaine overdose in the emergency room and to gauge whether it would be effective in reversing cocaine-induced constriction of the coronary vessels to the same degree it does in skin vessels.


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Contact: Katherine Morales
katherine.morales@utsouthwestern.edu
214-638-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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