Cancer Drug May Be Able To Curb Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction affects Americans around the world and is one of the most frequently used drugs in the U.S according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network used by hospital emergency departments. A recent study conducted in Wales at the Cardiff University suggests that a cancer drug available may be used in treating individuals with cocaine use disorders.
It is known from studying addiction that relapse in patients in recovery and obstacles to overcoming drug dependence rely heavily in the cravings and memories cues associated with drug use. When something such as a smell or memory is recalled of drug use it can cause cravings leading to relapse. The drug used in cancer trials and distributed from Pfizer, could treat the long-lasting memories and drug associated cues.
In a study using mice, the drug was able to prevent the cross over that occurs after recreation use into compulsive drug use. “We have demonstrated that a single administration of a trial drug from Pfizer can completely obliterate cocaine associated memories and significantly accelerate the end of drug seeking behavior in animals,” said Professor Riccardo Brambilla from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences.
Even if Cancer Drug Isn’t Effective, Studies Point to Effective Therapies
Cocaine produces the long-term brain alterations that encourage addiction in part by activating certain genes. Dr. Eric Nestler from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Harvard Medical School along with his colleagues have shown that the drug achieves this activation in part through a process called chromatin remodeling. This new information could lead to developments in therapies for cocaine addiction which target reverse chromatin remodeling. Dr. Nestler says that this is already a major strategy for cancer therapy development and could be potential therapies for addiction recovery and treatment.
What Are the Signs and Dangers of Cocaine Addiction?
Cocaine; also known as blow, snow, flake, C, or coke, is most often sold on the street in the form of a white crystalline powder. Because of its color and consistency, it’s easily diluted with sugar, cornstarch, talc, amphetamines, or local anesthetics such as procaine. Two types of cocaine are generally used – water soluble or water insoluble types – which allow the drug to be snorted, injected, or cooked to a rock form so it can be smoked. The term “crack” comes from the sound the substance makes as it is heated and smoked.
Cocaine usage ranges from occasional to extreme with varying usage patterns in-between. Regardless of how often or seldom used, there is no safe level of cocaine use. Even using this substance one time can result in such a high that it can cause cardiovascular failure, brain damage, seizures, stroke, or any other number or severe health conditions which can cause sudden death. Cocaine abuse effects are not physical, the substance rewards the dopamine sensors so the brain demands more on contact. However, the instant euphoria is often short-lived, often lasting a few minutes or an hour, so abusers want more and more and more.
Short-term effects of cocaine use include loss of appetite, rapid heart rate, insomnia, dilated pupils, tactile hallucinations, anxiety, and depression. Panic, convulsions, intense drug cravings, and instant death may also occur in higher or repeated doses. Long-term effects include permanent organ damage or failure, infection if injected, mucous membrane destruction, malnutrition and tooth decay. Risky behavior, mood disturbances, manic depression and psychosis, hallucinations, and sexual problems are common for abusers.