Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A cocaine vaccine?

A Time Magazine article this past week spoke about the success of early trials of a cocaine vaccine. The results, although only mildly successful, seemed to point towards the idea that a vaccination against addiction could be something viable in the fight to get people well. ABC news posted a video talking with Dr. Marvin Seppela, medical director of Hazelden, about the potential effects of something like this happening. The vaccination is built to damper the "high" users obtain from using cocaine, and therefore, scale back the level of craving.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (or NIDA), has mentioned that vaccinations against addiction are one of the institutes "...top priorities." NIDA is also working on a similar vaccination towards nicotine addiction. However, an interesting fact in the article: "About 25% of the study participants did not produce cocaine antibodies when vaccinated. In about half of these cases, researchers think smoking crack was the problem." This seems interesting, since it looks as though the vaccination would only alter the affects of powder cocaine users. As is widely known, crack cocaine causes far more severe effects among addicts, so it will be interesting to see if they find a way to combat the effects of crack addiction.

One of the more interesting points, made near the end of the article, was that the vaccine would need a number of consistent "booster" shots to keep up the effects of the vaccination. Dr. Volkow says that more than likely, the best use for the vaccine would be as a mode of relapse prevention, as opposed to a new method of abstinence. Since most addicts do require a form of aftercare, such as a 12-step group, this can be used as an additional tool to help support recovery and sobriety. In the spirit of the blog, being named Addiction Tomorrow after all, we're looking forward to seeing additional research and options for addicts to get well. This is encouraging, and hopefully we can get another tool in the toolbox to fight this battle.

Here's a great video about the myths of addiction.

Here's something funny.

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