A Mexican researcher has concluded animal testing and is gearing up for human trials on a drug that could prevent heroin addiction. This vaccine could help treat patients with severe addiction kick their habit much quicker than traditional medication.
The medication is able to block the euphoric effects of heroin by preventing them from passing into the brain. In animal tests, rats were given heroin and allowed to ingest as much as they wanted. After injecting the vaccine, the rats began eating less of the drug, despite the fact that a (practically) endless supply was available to them.
Several lists rank the addictiveness of different drugs, and heroin always ranks near the top (as do nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine, three legal drugs). This vaccine does not work to "cure" a person of addiction, but by diminishing cravings researchers hope to curb the physical need for the drug.
Current treatments for heroin addiction use opiates like methadone and buprenorphine to slowly wean patients off their addiction, which works well for in-patient treatment programs. But for out-patient addicts, there are few effective options. There are a few types of medication that block the effects of heroin much like this treatment, but they are not effective because of poor patient compliance. If this medication can be administered by a doctor, issues with patient compliance could be diminished.
Learn more about clinical trials and novel drug developments coming out of Latin America at the BioPharma LatAm Convention!