25 June 2015

Medication for pressure will help you forget about alcoholism and drug addiction

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, working under the guidance of Associate Professor Hitoshi Morikawa, cured rats of cocaine and alcohol addiction using a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an antihypertensive agent.

Previously, experts were of the opinion that alcohol and drug addiction are caused solely by physical desire, that is, the basis of relapses of addiction is the lack of willpower. However, since the 1970s, this opinion has gradually changed.

To date, most experts believe that the main stimuli triggering relapses of cured addiction include environmental factors: people, places, visual images and sounds.

In experiments on rat models, the authors trained rats to associate a black or white room with the use of an addictive drug (cocaine or alcohol). When the rats that the researchers had drugged or "planted" on cocaine were offered a choice to enter one of the rooms, they almost always chose a room whose color was associated with their addiction.

One day before the animals were offered to make a choice, they were injected with a high dose of the antihypertensive drug isradipine. Despite the fact that before that the rats still chose the room associated with their addiction, in the following days they no longer showed such preferences. The subsequent stable absence of preferences in these animals differed from the behavioral patterns that the authors managed to achieve in the animals of the control group. Based on these observations, the researchers concluded that isradipine not only muted, but completely "erased" the animals' memories of addiction.

It is believed that addictive drugs irreversibly alter the neural systems of the brain involved in the formation of associative pairs of "action-reward", which leads to the emergence of stable associations with factors reminiscent of the drug. All antihypertensive drugs block a certain type of ion channels expressed not only in the cells of the heart and blood vessels, but also in certain brain cells. Researchers have found that blocking these ion channels in brain cells with the help of isradipine restores such changes and destroys harmful associations.

Doctors already have drugs at their disposal that prevent a person from feeling euphoric when taking an addictive drug. However, the authors believe that their proposed approach may be more effective, since people seeking help, as a rule, already have a serious addiction.

They also note that the FDA has already recognized isradipine as safe for human use, which will greatly facilitate the planning and conduct of clinical trials. The only difficulty accompanying the use of this drug is that when used in the high doses necessary for the treatment of addiction, it lowers blood pressure. To neutralize this side effect, isradipine will have to be used in combination with a drug that prevents excessive lowering of blood pressure.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on UT Austin: Medicine May Stop Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru
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