Friday, April 9, 2010

Can An Addiction Be Stopped By Injection?

Tom Kosten, a psychiatrist from Baylor College of Medicine developed a treatment on breaking the cycle of rehabilitation and relapse regarding the addiction to cocaine.
The first placebo-controlled clinical trial for a cocaine addiction vaccine was recently completed by Kosten. This vaccine contains a cocaine molecule attached to the surface of an inactive cholera toxin protein which temporarily blocks the effects of the drug.
After getting the vaccine, the body generates antibodies that reacts to the cholera protein and the cocaine. If a cocaine enters the bloodstream, the antibodies will bind to it and neutralize it before it reaches the brain to cause the release of neurotransmitter dopamine, the process that makes users feel high.
Kosten's study found out that 50% of cocaine users had cocaine-free urine when tested 8-16 weeks after getting the vaccine, compared with 35% of those who received a placebo shot.
On the other hand, a problem revealed by the trial was that only 38% of those vaccinated developed high levels of antibodies against cocaine; Kosten is now working to increase the vaccine's antibody regeneration. Another thing is, - the vaccine's protection seems to only last for only 2 months.
According to Kosten, users are recommended to receive booster shots every few months for at least 2 years to make complete recovery from the addiction.

Kosten is also developing vaccines against heroine, nicotine and methamphetamine.