Cocaine Vaccine Shows Promise for Treating Addictiony
Immunization with an experimental anti-cocaine vaccine resulted in a substantial reduction in cocaine use in 38 percent of vaccinated patients in a clinical trial supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The study is the first successful, placebo-controlled demonstration of a vaccine against an illicit drug of abuse.
Akinso: A cocaine vaccine shows promise for treating addiction according to a National Institute on Drug Abuse study.
Volkow: This is a very exciting finding.
Akinso: Dr. Nora Volkow is the Director of the institute.
Volkow: This study evaluated whether there were differences in cocaine abuse among individuals that had a history of cocaine abuse that were treated with a vaccine to develop antibodies against the cocaine versus those that were not given the vaccine.
Akinso: Immunization with an experimental anti-cocaine vaccine resulted in a substantial reduction in cocaine use in 38 percent of vaccinated patients in a clinical trial supported by NIDA. Dr. Volkow explains the findings.
Volkow: What the study reports is that those individuals that have been vaccinated, in whom there were a formation of antibodies against cocaine, there was significant decrease in the amount of cocaine utilized, documented indeed that immunotherapy, active immunization in this case, for the treatment of cocaine addiction, is a strategy that has promise in the handling in this disorder.
Akinso: This study included 115 patients from a methadone maintenance program who were randomly assigned to receive an anti-cocaine vaccine or a placebo, which is an inactive vaccine. Participants in both groups received five vaccinations over a 12-week period and were followed for an additional 12 weeks. All participants also took part in weekly relapse-prevention therapy sessions with a trained substance abuse counselor, had their blood tested for antibodies to cocaine, and had their urine tested three times a week for the presence of opioids and cocaine. Dr. Volkow says the results of the study represent a promising step toward an effective medical treatment for cocaine and other drug addictions.
Volkow: This for us is a major breakthrough because if offers what could be potentially a transformative way of treating, not just cocaine addictions, but a wide variety of drug addictions.
Akinso: Dr. Volkow says although the study is promising, immunization did not achieve complete abstinence from cocaine use in this study. She added that previous research has shown, that a reduction in use is associated with a significant improvement in cocaine abusers’ social functioning and thus is therapeutically meaningful. For more information on this study, visit www.drugabuse.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Nora Volkow
Topic: Cocaine, addiction
Additional Info: Cocaine Vaccine Shows Promise for Treating Addiction