Cocaine abuse is one of the predominant reasons for the rise in the number of emergency room (ER) visits and overdose deaths. The impact of cocaine addiction is primarily felt on the natural reward circuits of the brain, making it difficult for the user to quit the habit. In order to manage cocaine withdrawal symptoms properly, those desirous of coming out of the clutches of addiction should get cocaine abuse help at the earliest. A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania, published in the Neuropsychopharmacology, has found that drug Exendin-4, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for managing obesity and diabetes, has the potential to prevent cocaine relapses and help longtime users find a permanent cure from their habit.
Researchers from Penn Medicine and Nursing had earlier found that the neural circuitry of the brain driving food-seeking behavior could have similarities with circuitry related to drug abuse. Their experimentation led to the discovery that drugs activating receptors for the hormone, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) responsible for reducing food intake and glucose levels, could also help decrease the urge for cocaine. This was good news for them as there are several FDA-approved medications regularly used for treating diabetes and obesity that attack the GLP-1 receptors.
In the course of the research, the scientists found that animals who were treated beforehand with Exendin-4 showed a significant decrease in their cocaine-seeking behavior. According to Heath D. Schmidt, a behavioral pharmacologist and neuroscientist from the University of Pennsylvania, “This tells us Exendin-4 can block the effects of cocaine itself but also condition stimuli previously paired with cocaine.” As the drug is associated with nausea, the researches tried to validate that it was not the reason for preventing users from craving for cocaine and that the desire arose from something more significant. In a follow-up experiment, it was deduced that if low doses of GLP-1 were provided, it would control the urge without causing nausea.
To track the trajectory of the administered drugs, the research team used a dye to isolate the brain pathway that boosts GLP-1 signaling. They concluded that when GPL-1 signaling was increased, it was possible to reduce cocaine-seeking habit and prevent relapse.
Holistic approach for treating drug abuse
Cocaine overdose can even turn fatal, as the drug is often adulterated with fentanyl. Additionally, combining cocaine with alcohol is a common practice among users who are unaware of the dangers of the deadly cocktail. As alcohol is a depressant and cocaine a stimulant, the combined effect can be fatal.
Long-term use of any drug can lead to tolerance and increased dependence on the drug. With time, the user becomes addicted and cannot function without it. Addiction to drugs is a chronic and relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and persistent use. It can cost a significant burden to health and life, and can lead to unemployment, homelessness, loss of career and relationships, and mental and physical health problems. It is advisable to seek timely treatment for drug abuse before matters go out of hand.
At Sovereign Health, we adopt a holistic approach in treating drug addiction and related disorders. Treatment at our rapid detox centers in California comprises detox (medical and nutrition-based), experiential therapies and counseling sessions that help in patients’ complete recovery. Our finest detox facilities in California and other parts of the United States help patients in relieving themselves from physical dependence on drugs and continue walking the path of sobriety. To know more about our various recovery plans, call at our 24/7 helpline (855) 682-0103 or chat online with our treatment advisors.