Researchers at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences have developed a novel compound that targets an important brain receptor. The compound was effective against a host of cocaine addiction behaviours, including relapse behaviour.
The researchers tested used a newly developed TAAR 1 (a novel receptor in the brain that is activated by minute amounts of brain chemicals called trace amines) against RO5263397, a drug that stimulates TAAR 1 receptors, in animal models of human cocaine abuse. They observed that RO5263397 dramatically blocked the cocaine's rewarding effects and also blunted cocaine relapse in the animals.
According to Jun-Xu Li, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the research suggests trace amine associated receptor 1 - TAAR 1 - holds great promise as a novel drug target for the development of novel medications for cocaine addiction.
He further added that as TAAR 1 anatomically and neurochemically is closely associated with dopamine (one of the key molecules in the brain that contributes to cocaine addiction), it could prove effective against cocaine behaviours. The researchers believe that the drugs that stimulate TAAR 1 may be able to counteract cocaine addiction.
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. People who are addicted may eventually prefer taking cocaine and their lifestyles may alter completely as their addiction increases. Treatment of cocaine addiction is different from the other recreational drugs as there are no effective substitute drugs. Medications may be prescribed as part of treatment, but they will be for symptoms related to withdrawal. Depending on the nature of the drug abuse and addiction, treatment is done. Some patients are advised to attend a residential rehabilitation program, or a structured day program.
The research has been published online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
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