Sunday, April 14, 2024

Preventing drug relapse

Memories of drug use can trigger a recovering addict’s drug relapse, according to researchers at the Jupiter campus of The Scripps Research Institute.

One solution for preventing a relapse is to selectively erase those memories. And, believe it or not, Scripps’ scientists are making headway on a therapy that does just that.

In a study published early August in the scientific journal “Molecular Psychiatry,” these researchers reported that a single injection of a drug called blebbistatin prevented methamphetamine relapse in meth-addicted animals. The early results suggest the drug erases drug-associated memories, while leaving other memories intact.

“We now have a viable target, and by blocking that target, we can disrupt, and potentially erase, drug memories, leaving other memories intact,” says Scripps Research Institute Associate Professor Courtney Miller in a press release. “The hope is that, when combined with traditional rehabilitation and abstinence therapies, we can reduce or eliminate relapse for meth users after a single treatment by taking away the power of an individual’s triggers.”

Researchers stumbled onto this finding after discovering in 2013 that targeting a protein in the brain, called actin, could selectively erase drug-associated memories. The problem was that the body needs actin to carry out other functions, so blocking it could be fatal. Miller and her fellow researchers went back to the drawing board and found what they believe might be a safe way to selectively target brain actin: blebbistatin.

In the animal study, one blebbistatin injection prevented meth relapse for a month or more. The animals’ health was otherwise intact.

While the research is in early stages, it’s moving toward the development of a therapy for humans to prevent drug relapse, according to a Scripps press release.

To watch a video on this research, click here.

(Home to recovering addicts source)

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About Lisette

Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The longtime Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on wordscomealive.com.

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