• Drug rehab may soon include pharmacogenetics

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    Pharmacogenetics looks at genetic variation to predict individual differences in response to medications. Individuals may metabolize the same medication in different ways, and their genotype may indicate some of these differences in drug metabolism. Proponents of pharmacogenetics hope that this relatively new field of study will lead to increased efficacy and safety for a wide array of drugs, including those used for addiction treatment. The addiction medicine aspects of drug rehab may be substantially improved if pharmacogenetics lives up to its promise. Haile, Kosten, and Kosten researched how genetic variation might affect responses to cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine and how genetic differences might guide pharmacotherapy. They performed a cross-referenced literature sea...
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  • Will an anti-cocaine vaccine improve drug treatment?

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    A clinical trial supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) marks the first successful, placebo-controlled demonstration of a vaccine against illicit drug addiction. The anti-cocaine vaccine causes the immune system to produces antibodies which attach to cocaine molecules, preventing them from entering the brain. Thus, the vaccine blocks the drug’s effect. The study followed 115 patients who received either the anti-cocaine vaccine or a placebo. Participants in both groups received 5 vaccinations over 12 weeks and were followed for an additional 12 weeks. All participants participated in drug treatment which consisted of weekly relapse prevention sessions with a trained substance abuse counselor. They also had their blood tested for antibodies to cocaine, and their urin...
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  • Predictors of response to naltrexone in alcohol rehab

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    Naltrexone is commonly prescribed in alcohol rehab. It is an opioid receptor antagonist that blocks opioid receptors and thus blocks the feeling of pleasure derived from alcohol consumption. Several double-blind clinical trials have shown that naltrexone is more effective than placebo in treatment for alcohol dependence. However, naltrexone may not work well for everyone. Its effectiveness varies among individuals. This has led some researchers to speculate that perhaps not all alcohol dependent individuals derive pleasure from an increase in endogenous opioids after alcohol consumption; perhaps there is a subtype of alcohol dependent individuals which may derive more benefit from naltrexone treatment. Certain clinical predictors might be able to identify individuals who would derive th...
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  • High-dose baclofen for alcohol treatment

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    Oliver Ameisen, an associate professor of medicine and cardiologist at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, reported in Alcohol and Alcoholism that he successfully used high-dose baclofen as an alcohol treatment and achieved complete and prolonged suppression of symptoms of his own alcohol dependence (2005). Ameisen had been diagnosed with alcohol dependence and comorbid anxiety disorder. He reports that his anxiety disorder preceded his addiction to alcohol. He had tried other medications for alcohol dependence with no success. Ameisen decided to try baclofen, a gamma-amino butyric acid receptor agonist that is used to control spasticity. Previous research showed that baclofen had reduced alcohol craving in alcohol dependent patients and suppressed cocaine self-administratio...
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  • Kudzu vine extract may prove useful in alcohol treatment

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    Daidzin, a compound found in the kudzu vine, interferes with the metabolization of alcohol and produces effects similar to those of the anti-drinking drug Antabuse. Dr. Ting-Kai Li of Duke University and Dr. Ivan Diamond of the University of California in San Francisco believe that they have discovered a synthetic version of daidzin that reduces alcohol cravings by preventing alcohol from increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Daidzin and synthetic daidzin (known as CVT-1-216) may prove useful in alcohol treatment. Harvard researchers first discovered the anti-drinking effects of the kudzu extract in 2005. Previous studies had shown that kudzu extracts reduced alcohol drinking in rats and hamsters. In this study, researchers tested the effect of kudzu extract on drinking by humans ...
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  • Naltrexone and acamprosate combination in alcohol treatment

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    The use of Naltrexone and/or acamprosate can be helpful during alcohol treatment, however, to achieve the greatest success, individuals would benefit from incorporating psychological intervention. Evidence-based addiction treatment incorporates cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) which enables individuals to learn ways to cope with cravings and eventually have greater success for alcohol recovery. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that blocks the reward effects of alcohol consumption. The mechanism of acamprosate is less well-defined, but it may reduce unpleasant feelings (such as anxiety and tension) during withdrawal by blocking NMDA receptors. Previous research shows that acamprosate increases the number of individuals who remain abstinent after alcohol detoxification. Research also...
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  • A one-year trial of naltrexone vs. disulfiram in alcohol treatment

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    Using evidence based addiction treatment, individuals can learn a self-empowering approach to overcome addiction. Naltrexone and disulfiram are both used as deterrent agents in Naltrexone is an opioid receptor agonist that reduces the euphoria associated with alcohol consumption and thus reduces the risk of relapse in alcohol-dependent individuals. Disulfiram blocks the metabolism of acetaldehyde, an intermediate product of alcohol metabolism. Upon consumption of alcohol, increased acetaldehyde levels cause a disulfiram-ethanol reaction, which includes flushing, nausea, vomiting, and a sense of uneasiness. Researchers in Mumbai, India, compared the efficacy of naltrexone and disulfiram in alcohol treatment for dependence in a one-year trial (De Sousa & De Sousa, 2004). The res...
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