Navigation Links
UWM research offers hope for treatment of cocaine addiction

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 ("Inhibition of β-Adrenergic Receptors Induces a Persistent Deficit in Retrieval of a Cocaine-Associated Memory Providing Protection against Reinstatement.")

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.


Contact: Devin Mueller
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Related biology news :

1. Research links telomere length to emphysema risk
2. The first studies utilizing the Collaborative Cross mice are published in Genome Research
3. Wood products part of winning carbon-emissions equation, researchers say
4. IRCM researchers uncover a new piece of the puzzle in the development of our nervous system
5. Notre Dame research reveals brain network connections
6. Cancer data not readily available for future research
7. Research provides insight into new drug resistance in hospital microbes
8. TUM researchers discover a new switch in resistance to plant diseases
9. BUSM researchers urge awareness of dietary iodine intake in postpartum Korean-American women
10. Researchers study pesticide pathways into the atmosphere
11. Johns Hopkins researchers identify new genetic risk factor for sudden cardiac death
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , ... multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex ... any combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. ... SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... Sweden , April 28, 2016 First ... M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 ... profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin ... 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was SEK ... The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to ... period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being ... the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has ... Association to serve as their official health care ... Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, ... coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. "We ... Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality services ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics ... Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring ... designed, built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LONDON , June 23, 2016 ... & Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 ... Review , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, ... the escalating cost of cancer care is placing ... a result of expensive biologic therapies. With the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced ... life sciences incubator to accelerate the development of new ... at QB3@953 was created to help high-potential life science ... early stage organizations - access to laboratory infrastructure. ... two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each winner with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: