“We have found that cocaine’s effects on the cardiovascular system can be reversed by the use of a drug called dexmedetomidine, which is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for anesthetic purposes in operating rooms or intensive care units,” said Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, associate professor of internal medicine and senior author of a study appearing in the Aug. 14 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Researchers used dexmedetomidine to test whether cocaine’s effect on the cardiovascular system could be muted. They found that the drug was effective in reversing the actions of cocaine on heart rate, blood pressure and vascular resistance in the skin by interfering with the ability of cocaine to increase nerve activity.
“Typically, patients with cocaine overdoses in the emergency room are treated with nitroglycerin, sedatives such as Valium, and some blood-pressure medications such as calcium channel blockers and some beta blockers,” Dr. Vongpatanasin said. “However, the standard treatments don’t alleviate all of the adverse effects of cocaine on the heart, blood pressure and central nervous system.”
The study examined results from 22 healthy adults who reported to have never used cocaine. The investigators administered a small, medically approved dose of cocaine nose drops to the study participants, which doubled their sympathetic nerve activity, part of the body’s “automatic” response system that becomes more active during times of stress. Participants experienced increases in several cardiovascular parameters including heart rate, blood pressure and resistance to blood flow in the skin.
Microelectrodes, similar to acupuncture needles, were used to record sympathetic nerve activity following doses of intranasal cocaine.
Research subjects who were treated with dexmedetomidine had a decrease in sympathetic nerve activity as well as in all three cardiovascular parameters, which returned to baseline levels measured before administration of cocaine. Dexmedetomidine proved to be more effective than intravenous saline, which was used as a placebo in another group of study participants.
Cocaine abuse in the U.S. is widespread, with nearly 35 million Americans reporting having ever tried cocaine and an estimated 7.3 million users, including 15 percent of young adults ages 18 to 25, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Life-threatening emergencies related to cocaine use include sudden cardiac death, high blood pressure, stroke and acute myocardial infarctions.
“We also found that dexmedetomidine was equally effective in counteracting effects of cocaine in subjects with a rare genetic mutation thought to disrupt the effects of dexmedetomidine,” said Dr. Ronald Victor, professor of internal medicine and co-author of the study. “Because this particular mutation is more common in African-Americans than in Caucasians, our study results are applicable to a more diverse, multiethnic population.” Further research is needed, study authors said, to determine whether the treatment would be effective for acute cocaine overdose in the emergency room and to gauge whether it would be effective in reversing cocaine-induced constriction of the coronary vessels to the same degree it does in skin vessels.
Katherine Morales | EurekAlert!
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
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...
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...
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...
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...
'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...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences