Researchers have designed a pair of new vaccines that not only fight cocaine and methamphetamine addiction but also minimize its withdrawal symptoms.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Thomas Kosten and Jay H. Waggoner at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM).
As part of the study, researchers examined the effect of the vaccines on subjects administered to it.
Researchers found that study participants began to respond favourably to the TA-CD, the cocaine vaccine after about a month.
The vaccine worked through a series of injections over a three-month period.
"The vaccine slowly decreases the amount of cocaine that reaches the brain. It's a slow process, and patients do not go through any significant withdrawal symptoms," Kosten said.
The vaccines stimulated the body to produce antibodies which then attack the drug while it is in the blood stream. This prevented the drug from reaching the brain and creating the reactions that contributed to dependency.
The methamphetamine vaccine was found to give similar results as TA-CD.
While both vaccines spur antibody production, each has a unique protein composition that help the body target the different drugs.
Researchers insisted that while the vaccines have shown to help overcome drug addictions, they do not necessarily curb relapse.
"This is not a stand-alone treatment. There is a reason drugs were used in the first place, and that needs to be dealt with either through counselling or behavioural therapies," Kosten said.
The findings of the study were presented at the Annual Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence in Quebec City, Canada.