Friday, June 22, 2007

"Vaccine" to ease drug withdrawal symptoms

Interesting story today about a new vaccine designed to help ease withdrawal systems for people recovering from cocaine and methamphetamine addictions.

The treatment works by stimulating the body to produce antibodies that attack the drug while it is in the bloodstream, resulting in less of the substance being processed, gradually weaning the brain from the chemicals. It is emphasized that this is NOT a wonder drug to cure addictions or prevent relapse, but is a "therapeutic" which can help to ease the extremely painful process of withdrawal.

This sounds great, but one thing I wonder is the risk for stimulating autoimmune disorders. Drugs affect us because many chemicals imitate natural substances, fitting into brain receptors that already existed for something else. If you produce antibodies against cocaine, for example, will they also attack dopamine (which cocaine "imitates), which is crucial for healthy brain function, and is also very similar to adrenaline? I'm sure this will be addressed in tests, it will be interesting to monitor news on this.

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