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Diabetes medication may help curb drug addiction

Category: Drug Screening

According to research conducted at Vanderbilt University, exendin-4, which is used to manage diabetes, may be helpful in treating addiction to stimulant drugs.

"What we have demonstrated is that a brain mechanism already known to be therapeutic for the treatment of diabetes also appears to be implicated in at least certain types of drug addiction," said one of the research authors Gregg Stanwood, Ph.D.

Stanwood noted that when exendin-4 was tested on animals, it showed an ability to decrease the reward effects of cocaine. He and his colleagues predict that this same mechanism can be utilized to treat addiction in humans to other stimulants like amphetamine and methamphetamine, which can be detected with a blood test.

Stanwood also reported that metabolic disorders, such as diabetes, and psychiatric disorders, like addiction and schizophrenia, have a tendency to be diagnosed together and this treatment may be able to target disorders that are related to dysregulated dopamine.

Although Stanwood believes exendin-4 and the subsequent medications that may come from this research will prove to be successful, he stated they will not be a "magic bullet" for addiction, but rather it will be helpful when paired with therapy and behavioral support.

Drug abuse
The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that there is no one cause of drug addiction, but there are certain factors that have proved to play roles in encouraging addiction, such as peer pressure, emotional distress, anxiety, depression and environmental stress. Also people who live in an environment that allows for an easy access to drugs or are part of a culture where drug abuse is accepted are more likely to develop addiction.

Some symptoms of drug abuse include confusion, episodes of violence, missing work and school and neglecting to eat.

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