Novel medicine to fight addiction has been developed, which could also be effective in treating epilepsy and other conditions, reveals a new study. Drug addiction continues to plague vast numbers of people across the world, destroying and ending lives, while attempts to develop more effective pharmaceutical addiction treatments continue.
‘A novel compound identified is effective in blocking dopamine release after exposure to cocaine or nicotine than CPP-115.’Scientists have reported the findings of this study in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
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Vigabatrin is an anti-epilepsy medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration that has also been shown to be effective against addiction to cocaine, nicotine, methamphetamine, heroin and alcohol in animal models.
In humans, vigabatrin eliminates cocaine addiction in 28 percent of patients. It works by blocking an enzyme, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) aminotransferase, which breaks down GABA.
The result is higher levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain and diminished narcotic-activated release of dopamine.
Long-term vigabatrin therapy can have serious side effects however, causing eye damage in up to 40 percent of those treated. So, Richard B. Silverman, Stephen L. Dewey and colleagues wanted to develop a more potent inhibitor of GABA aminotransferase with fewer side effects.
In this study, they used computational molecular dynamics simulations of CPP-115 in complex with the enzyme to develop a new and improved agent with 10 times greater efficiency.
In initial rat experiments, the new compound was far better at blocking dopamine release after a cocaine or nicotine stimulus than CPP-115.
The researchers say that future work could examine whether the computational approach could be generalized to improve other mechanism-based enzyme inhibitors in the laboratory before testing them on animals.