The research team at the University of Kentucky School of Pharmacy is aimed to create a miracle drug to control methamphetamine use disorders. Linda Dwoskin and her team are focused on the development of first FDA-approved treatment allowing the addicts ease of popping a drug for recovery treatment.
The death rate because of meth addiction is on the rise in the United States since 2012 and the amphetamine-related hospitalizations have been shockingly increased from 2008 to 2015. The researchers said that the opioid problems are diminishing and the methamphetamine problems are increasing.
The research team said that the people who stopped taking opioids once are now taking methamphetamine. People are who are addicts to substances, they are having substance use disorders and they don’t take only one drug. The methamphetamine problems seem to be worse than that of opioid and they are not that much prepared to control the meth crisis.
There are no such medications available to treat meth addiction. Drugs that control the opioids crisis like Suboxone and Vivitrol can be useful when prescribed with proper counseling and other behavior therapies, a practice known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
There is currently no FDA-approved drug to curb methamphetamine addiction which leaves the social workers and the first responders to deal with the rising crisis.
But not for long, Dwoskin claims that her team is almost close to finding a successful treatment. With the success in mice models, the drug candidate would be heading towards a clinical trial. Dwoskin and her students are working at the University of Kentucky lab on the new drug for the treatment of meth addiction. If goes successful, her next step will be to gain FDA approval.
Methamphetamine works by controlling the natural process in the brain, causing the overflow of dopamine, the strong, euphoric rush that can lead to addiction. Like other drugs, this new drug which is still under observation is an antagonist, gets attached to the meth receptors and stops their activation. This will neutralize the effect of the drug on the brain.
There are two dopamine-releasing transporters on the neurons. The one which is outside is known as dopamine transporter and the other one which is inside controls the storage. The research so far has targeted the outside transporter. So, Dwoskin is focused on the inside transporter to block the high.
Dwoskin found that the drug-addicted mice taking her drug-antagonist aren’t interested in the methamphetamine. They didn’t show any interest in meth at all.
Dwoskin shared that blocking the initial action of meth will block the release. Even if the methamphetamine works at the outside dopamine transporter there would be nothing for it to release. The dopamine will be stored in vesicles like it has to be.
This will be only half the battle; curbing methamphetamine addiction. Then the user’s brain has to heal from the harms of the chronic abuse.
Dwoskin and her Kentucky research team still have a long way to go for FDA approval. People suffering from methamphetamine use disorders have filled the mailbox of Dwoskin with emails and letters relating their sufferings and hope for a speedy cure.