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NIDA Notes Articles: Treatment

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Potential Pain Medication Targets Peripheral Nerves

September 2012

Researchers report a significant advance in the search for medications that can suppress pain but avoid opioids’ abuse potential and other undesirable CNS effects. A new compound reduces mouse responses in animal models of neurogenic and chronic inflammatory (e.g., arthritic) pain. The compound, called UB937, enhances the natural pain-killing activity of the neurotransmitter anandamide, and exerts its analgesic effects entirely in peripheral tissues, without entering the brain.

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Patch Delivers Buprenorphine for Heroin Detox

November 2009

Describes research on the effectiveness of a buprenorphine patch to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms of newly abstinent heroin abusers.

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Oxycodone Vaccine Passes Early Tests

May 2013

A new vaccine hindered the often-abused prescription opioids oxycodone and hydrocodone from entering the brain and suppressed one of the drugs’ signature central nervous system effects. The findings warrant continued development of the vaccine as a potential aid in the treatment of oxycodone and hydrocodone abuse and dependence.

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Nicotine Dependence is Linked With Mental Disorders in Pregnant Women

December 2008

Reports on a link between mental disorders, including mood, anxiety, or personality disorder and nicotine dependence in pregnancy women.

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New Therapy Reduces Drug Abuse Among Patients With Severe Mental Illness

June 2008

Describes a new intervention that enhances recovery prospects for substance abusers whose mental illness complicates the path toward recovery.

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New Approach Uses Immune Cells To Deliver Anti-HIV Medications

October 2014

Nano-antiretroviral therapy (nano-ART) turns macrophages—one of the very cell types that HIV uses to replicate and spread through the body—into carriers for anti-HIV medications. The approach has the potential to make treatment for HIV easier and more effective.

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Nanotechnology Powers Smart Skin Patch

November 2011

An in vitro test demonstrates the potential of a programmable skin patch that will enable physicians to tailor transdermal medication doses to match patients' fluctuating needs.

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Naltrexone via Skin Patch Proves Effectiveness of New Technology

November 2009

Reports on a new device that creates tiny painless punctures in the skin to allow medication to flow evenly from a skin patch into dermal capillaries and the bloodstream.

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Naltrexone Implant Outperforms Daily Pill in Russian Trial

November 2013

More than half of heroin-addicted patients treated with naltrexone via an implanted delivery device maintained abstinence throughout a 6-month clinical trial in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The implant device, which releases a steady dose of naltrexone continuously for 2 months, averted relapse to heroin use three times as effectively as daily oral doses of the medication.

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N-Acetylcysteine Postsynaptic Effect Limits Efficacy

January 2013

Clinical trials of N-acetylcysteine to help people recovering from drug abuse avoid relapse have demonstrated only moderate efficacy. New NIDA-supported research shows that while a low dose of the medication activates receptors associated with lowered drug-seeking behavior, a higher dose appears to activate receptors associated with increased drug-seeking behavior. The result suggests that a medication or combination of medications that stimulate the receptor GluR2/3 and block mGluR5 may work better than N-acetylcysteine alone.

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