Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New hope for treatment of cocaine addiction

Date:
July 18, 2011
Source:
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that a common beta blocker, used to treat people with hypertension, has shown to be effective in preventing the brain from retrieving memories associated with cocaine use in animal-addiction models. Cocaine is one of the worst drug addictions to kick, with about 80 percent of those trying to quit experiencing a relapse within six months.

New discoveries by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) offer potential for development of a first-ever pharmacological treatment for cocaine addiction.

A common beta blocker, propranolol, currently used to treat people with hypertension and anxiety, has shown to be effective in preventing the brain from retrieving memories associated with cocaine use in animal-addiction models, according to Devin Mueller, UWM assistant professor of psychology and a co-author with James Otis of the research.

This is the first time that a therapeutic treatment has been shown to block the retrieval of memories associated with drug addiction, a major reason many addicts experience relapse, says Mueller.

The research is published in the August issue of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Cocaine is one of the worst drug addictions to kick, with about 80 percent of those trying to quit experiencing a relapse within six months.

"Right now, there are no FDA-approved medications that are known to successfully treat cocaine abuse," says Mueller, "only those that are used to treat the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, which are largely ineffective at preventing relapse."

The effects of propranolol were long-lasting and could be permanent, he says, even without subsequent doses and even in the presence of stimuli known to induce relapse.

Currently, "exposure therapy" is used to help recovering addicts suppress their drug-seeking behavior. In this therapy, the patient is repeatedly exposed to stimuli that provoke cravings but do not satisfy them. Done repeatedly over time, the patient experiences less craving when presented with those stimuli.

The success of exposure therapy, however, is limited. Combining therapy with the use of propranolol, says Mueller, would boost the effectiveness of the treatment.

Propranolol was chosen for the memory study because it has been used before to ease some withdrawal symptoms experienced by recovering cocaine addicts. Those using the drug were able to continue exposure therapy for longer periods than those without the drug.

But Mueller adds that propranolol has never been tested for use with memory extinction before.

In order to develop a drug treatment for overcoming relapse, the next step in the research is to determine where in the brain propranolol acts to mediate the retrieval of cocaine-associated memories.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the National Institutes of Health, and by the UWM Research Growth Initiative.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James M Otis, Devin Mueller. Inhibition of β-Adrenergic Receptors Induces a Persistent Deficit in Retrieval of a Cocaine-Associated Memory Providing Protection against Reinstatement. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2011; 36 (9): 1912 DOI: 10.1038/npp.2011.77

Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. "New hope for treatment of cocaine addiction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110715135335.htm>.
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. (2011, July 18). New hope for treatment of cocaine addiction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110715135335.htm
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. "New hope for treatment of cocaine addiction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110715135335.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins