Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Hope for treating relapse to methamphetamine abuse

Vigabatrin shown to block reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior

A new study at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory suggests that vigabatrin (a.k.a. gamma vinyl-GABA, or GVG) blocks drug-seeking behavior in animals previously trained to associate methamphetamine with a particular environment.

Specifically, animals pre-treated with vigabatrin lost interest in spending time in a location where they had previously been given methamphetamine. The results will appear in the February 2009 issue of Synapse, now available online.

"Reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior after an extended period of abstinence is the number-one cause of drug-addiction relapse," said Brookhaven neuroanatomist Stephen Dewey, who led the research team. "This animal study suggests that vigabatrin could potentially prevent human methamphetamine addicts from relapsing."

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine is a very addictive stimulant that is quickly becoming an American public health epidemic. There is currently no effective treatment for methamphetamine addiction.

Vigabatrin is a pharmaceutical agent first tested as a possible treatment for a variety of addictions in animal studies led by Dewey at Brookhaven Lab ( It is the only drug that has been shown to block any behavior associated with methamphetamine use, and is currently being tested by Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners ( for safety and efficacy against cocaine and methamphetamine addiction in humans in Phase II clinical trials across the U.S.

"In human drug abusers, many things can cause relapse — exposure or access to drugs, environmental cues that trigger thoughts of the drug, or stress," said Dewey. "If vigabatrin can prevent relapse, it could have a huge impact by helping drug abusers regain control over their lives."

In the current study, rats were first put through a series of conditioning tests that taught them to expect methamphetamine in one chamber of a three-chamber apparatus and saline solution in another chamber. The researchers then allowed the rats to roam freely among the three chambers. If the rats spent the majority of their time in the chamber where they had been given methamphetamine, the scientists knew they had established a "conditioned place preference."

Once this preference was established, the researchers extinguished it by giving the rats saline injections in both chambers, again allowing the animals to have free access to all chambers until the rats had no preference for the previously methamphetamine-associated chamber for at least six consecutive days.

Once extinguished, however, it is possible for a conditioned preference to be reinstated — just as it is possible for a recovered drug addict to relapse. To reinstate the place preference in this experiment, Brookhaven scientists injected the rats with methamphetamine in the neutral chamber. Immediately, rats went to the chamber where they had received methamphetamine and remained there for the duration of the exposure period.

Then, once the reinstatement of a preference was clearly demonstrated, the researchers tested the effectiveness of vigabatrin at blocking it. They pre-treated animals with vigabatrin two-and-a-half hours before giving them another priming dose of methamphetamine followed by free access to all three chambers. When pre-treated with vigabatrin, the rats no longer showed any preference for one chamber over another.

Dewey's group is now conducting studies to examine whether GVG will also block an environmental cue previously shown to produce relapse to drug-seeking behavior.

"These studies have wide implications for addressing the number-one cause of relapse to drug seeking behavior. If we can successfully block drug-induced reinstatement, then our ability to block environmental cue-induced relapse is significantly enhanced," Dewey said.

Karen McNulty Walsh | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Drug Methamphetamine Stress Vigabatrin methamphetamine abuse

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>