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Druggies Won't Get High Anymore With Russia's New Anti-Addiction Treatment

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A team of researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) developed a molecule that blocks the pleasure gained from narcotics. By 2023, it could become the basis for a new generation of drug dependence treatment.

Regina Konstantinova — This is how the novel medicine works: after it is injected into blood, it stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that prevent the penetration of drugs into the brain. The patient does not experience pleasure from taking the drugs and so loses the motivation to use them, according to the developers.

"The anti-relapse treatment proves its effectiveness after only 3 month of use," Dr. Marina Myagkova, the head of the laboratory in the Institute of Physiologically Active Compounds, RAS, who leads the team, told Sputnik.

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The new medication successfully fights against opioid addiction from heroin, morphine and desomorphine. The total recovery will take 1-2 years.

"In order to achieve maximum effect, from three to five vaccinations should be done in the first year, followed by another supporting course of about two vaccinations in the second year," Dr. Myagkova explained.

Preclinical tests of the promising compound will start in 2017. "There are no analogues in the pharmaceutical market yet, but similar vaccines are being developed by several scientific organizations in the US and Mexico," she added.

Popular existing medicine, naltrexone, cures only 10-30% of drug addicts and has many side effects.

"Our preparation will be the first domestic drug of a new class — a vaccine against addiction," the leading researcher said.

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According to Dr. Myagkova, it has a number of advantages over various forms of naltrexone. The novel medication has significantly fewer side effects and substantially longer duration of effect — one year after the end of the course of vaccinations, while even the prolonged forms of naltrexone have a maximum of two months.

Opposite to existing treatments, it acts at the peripheral level, in the blood and not in the brain and prevents the severe consequences of overdose. Patients also show greater commitment to it, as they are more willing to agree for the treatment because of no severe side effects and the seldom need for injections.

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