Could New Drug Kill Cocaine Addiction?
Author: Justin Mckibben
Cocaine addiction is one of the only illicit substance abuse issues that does not have a long-term medication therapy approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)… even heroin… but all that may be changing soon enough. Cocaine addiction has been a serious drug problem for quite some time, so any new development in the area of treatment is always welcome news.
Recently scientists have revealed what could possibly be a revolutionary long-acting chemical treatment for cocaine addiction. So could this new drug kill cocaine addiction?
A study has published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that explains how this new treatment option has been developed, and how hopefully with FDA approval this medication could help save lives.
Cocaine Killing Chemical Compound
According to a research team at the University of Kentucky, they have developed a chemical compound that blocks the high created by active cocaine addiction.
This cocaine killing chemical compound is said to inhibit the effects of the drug by preventing the physiological and toxic impact of cocaine abuse.
Cocaine hydrolases is the name of this new enzyme. Cocaine hydrolases also is supposed to have long-term effects and can thus be used as a therapy for cocaine addiction, making treatment more effective and preventing relapse.
The scientists involved in discovering the compound and developing it have said this innovation lays a brand new foundation for other long-term cocaine treatment options. However, federal regulators thus far have not yet approved a therapy for cocaine addiction.
The study said: ‘An ideal anti-cocaine medication would accelerate cocaine metabolism, producing biologically inactive metabolites by administration of an efficient cocaine-specific exogenous enzyme.’
The big deal about this is the compound is suggested to be able to do so without affecting normal brain functions. The research team had initially sought to find a “truly effective” addiction medication that could block the physiological effects of cocaine addiction without the drug constraining or obstructing regular brain function or other critical organs, such as the heart.
The study said:
“Most popularly used pharmacological approaches to addiction treatment, including all currently available addiction therapies, either affect normal functions of brain receptors/transporters or are unable to prevent relapse.”
The scientists discovered the cocaine hydrolases they had been working on could proficiently detoxify and inactivate cocaine without having and side-effects that would hinder normal functions’ of the central nervous system.
The chemical compound for blocking cocaine addiction went so well that both clinical and pre-clinical data displayed the medication is safe for use in humans – and can even accelerate cocaine metabolism!
Cocaine Addiction Relapse Prevention
The scientists also wanted to develop a long-term cocaine addiction treatment that would prevent a relapse.
At first the scientists found testing rodents that the actual therapeutic use of a cocaine hydrolases in cocaine addiction treatment was limited by its short biological half-life – which was eight hours or shorter in rats- meaning that the cocaine hydrolases compound did not stay in the body long enough to have the desired effects.
However, the scientists adopted a new perspective and decided to try adding human immunoglobulin G antibodies to the compound to make it more efficient. According to the researchers this new compound now
“Not only has a high catalytic efficiency against cocaine, but like an antibody, has a considerably longer biological half-life”
The updated form of the cocaine hydrolases compound was able to accelerate cocaine metabolism in rats even after 20 days for up to 107 hours at a time.
The biological half-life of a protein drug is significantly longer in humans than rats, so with this new information the compound could block cocaine-induced hyperactivity and toxicity for a longer period.
This revolutionizes the treatment because humans can receive one dose every two to four weeks for treatment of cocaine addiction. So it has the potential to being like the Vivitrol shot often used in attempt to regulate and hinder heroin abuse- it could quickly become a once a month medication that undermines and eliminates the issues created by cocaine addiction.
Cocaine detox and addiction treatment is about providing safe and effective options to help people who struggle with the physical, mental and emotional aspects of addiction. New innovations are developed every day, and every day people are recovering from a seemingly hopeless cocaine addiction.
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