- Opioid drug overdose has
been in the news with death of celebrities including music sensations Michael
Jackson and Prince.
from The Scripps Research Institute have developed a vaccine that prevents the opioid drug molecules from reaching the brain.
- In the study, the vaccine increased the fatal
dosage of the drug and increased the time taken for the drug action, providing
a window period of further medical assistance to reach the patient.
A vaccine that decreases
the risk of fatal overdose of opioid drugs by
decreasing their pain numbing effects has been developed by researchers from The Scripps Research
Institute. The opioid drugs against which the vaccine is being
tested are oxycodone
Kim. D. Janda who is a junior professor of
Chemistry and a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology said"We saw
both blunting of the drug's effects and, remarkably, prevention of drug
lethality. The protection against overdose
unforeseen but clearly of enormous potential clinical benefit."
‘Vaccine could Prevent Fatality due to Opioid Drug Overdose.’
- Opioid overdose deaths are a major cause of concern in
were 28,000 deaths due to opioid overdose in 2014.
prescription opioid is the reason for
overdose in nearly half of the cases
men died of prescription drug overdose during the period 1999 and 2010
Opioid drugs interact
with nerve cells of the brain and produce pleasurable effects and also provide
pain relief. Adolescents are enticed into using opioid drugs for their after effects by their friends. Soon after they become
addicted to their effects and become chronic users of opioid drugs, especially heroin. A considerable number of deaths are caused by
addiction to opioid drugs.
Women are other vulnerable segments of society
where opioid drugs may be
prescribed to relieve pain but women tend to use for longer than men and get
addicted to these drugs faster than men.
The opioid drugs reach the receptors of the nerve cells of the brain and provide pain
and a feeling of ecstasy.
For the opioid overdose vaccine, a signature opioid structure is mimicked
and added along with another molecule to initiate an immune response. The
body's immune cells are then activated and remove the opioid drug molecules that are in circulation.
of This Vaccine Against Opioid
Susceptible to Overdose
- The antibodies that are designed against the opioid drugs, seek out and remove the drug molecules
drug molecules are prevented from reaching the brain and there will be no drug
effects like feeling of ecstasy associated with the drug use.
- Previous opioid drug therapies altered brain chemistry but this
current vaccine under trial removes the drug from circulation and does not
affect the brain.
this vaccine is found to be effective, a large number of people who overdose on
drugs accidentally can be prevented from a fatal drug reaction.
- The laboratory
tests showed that mice injected with the vaccine did not show symptoms
associated with opioid drug use like
: Mice that were injected with this vaccine could tolerate doses of opioid drugs that were found to be toxic earlier. Mice
that died due to high toxicity did so after a long time, extending the window
period. This could be useful in terms of human, where an extension will aid in
reaching the patient to the hospital.
Period of Action
: The drug remained in the mice for a period of
60 days, till the study lasted. The researchers believe that the vaccine could
provide longer periods of protection.
Cody J. Wenthur, a research associate with the
Janda laboratory who is also co-author of the study said "The vaccine approach
stops the drug before it even gets to the brain," "It's like a preemptive
The first author Atsushi Kimishima who is also a
research associate in the Janda laboratory said
"Our goal was to create a vaccine that mirrored the
drug's natural structure. Clearly this tactic provided a broadly useful opioid
The vaccine that was trialed in this study is not
the first to be studied but it is one of the best representations of the opioid drug structure. The antibodies bound to the drug
molecules and they remain in the system for a long period of time, which is the
only significant drawback. Further studies are required to understand the
dosage and schedule of the vaccine.
- Injury Prevention & Control: Opioid
Overdose - (https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/)
- Opioid Addiction - (http://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf)