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Alzheimer’s Therapy May Help Overcome Opioid Addiction

Clinical trial results reveal that a medication used to treat Alzheimer’s disease may also be an effective therapy for individuals addicted to opioids. The findings are published in The American Journal on Addictions.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 12:01 am EDT
"My colleagues and I are excited about these preliminary findings, as they could point to new strategies for helping those with opioid use disorder. We hope to pursue this in future research"

Clinical trial results reveal that a medication used to treat Alzheimer’s disease may also be an effective therapy for individuals addicted to opioids. The findings are published in The American Journal on Addictions.

The medication, called galantamine, is thought to have a dual mechanism of action—it increases levels of a chemical messenger called acetylcholine in the brain and also binds to nicotinic receptors, which play a role in addiction to nicotine and other substances.

Participants who took galantamine had fewer urine samples that were positive for opioids compared with those who took placebo, which corroborated with self-reported abstinence in those who took galantamine. Also, participants who used opioids during follow-up took longer to do so if they were in the galantamine group.

“My colleagues and I are excited about these preliminary findings, as they could point to new strategies for helping those with opioid use disorder. We hope to pursue this in future research,” said lead author Kathleen Carroll, PhD, of the Yale University School of Medicine.

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajad.12904

Link to Commentary: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajad.12906

About Journal 

The American Journal on Addictions is the official journal of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. The Academy encourages research on the etiology, prevention, identification, and treatment of substance abuse; thus, the journal provides a forum for the dissemination of information in the extensive field of addiction.

Each issue of this publication covers a wide variety of topics ranging from codependence to genetics, epidemiology to dual diagnostics, etiology to neuroscience, and much more. Features of the journal, all written by experts in the field, include special overview articles, clinical or basic research papers, clinical updates, and book reviews within the area of addictions.

About Wiley

Wiley drives the world forward with research and education. Our scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals and our digital learning, certification, and student-lifecycle services and solutions help students, researchers, universities, and corporations to achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to all of our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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