Los Angeles, CA – Vaccines are all the rage right now. One of the main topics is about vaccines and opioid addiction. Researchers are working on medicines to do just that. The research is still in the experimental stages, but scientists have reported encouraging progress.
The journal ACS Chemical Biology reports that researchers are developing vaccines to prevent the worst effects of the synthetic opioids fentanyl and carfentanil. Synthetic opioids are the primary drivers of overdoses in the U.S. Fentanyl is 30-50 times more potent than heroin and carfentanil is another 100 times stronger than Fentanyl. These drugs are commonly added to street drugs without users’ knowledge which is why they’ve caused so many fatal overdoses.
Prescription opioids can also be powerfully addictive without proper medical supervision, and users who become dependent often turn to street drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil when they’re no longer able to obtain prescriptions.
According to ACS Chemical Biology, experiments on mice have shown the vaccines can prevent respiratory depression – the slowing down of breathing to dangerous and often life-threatening levels. They do this by reducing the amount of fentanyl or carfentanil that passes the blood-brain barrier – reducing harm to the respiratory system.
Other studies on opioid vaccines are continuing, most involving lab mice. At the University of Minnesota, immunologist/pharmacologist Marco Pravetoni, Ph.D., has developed a vaccine that produces antibodies when oxycodone is injected. The antibodies remain and prevent the user from getting high the next time they use the drug.
An opioid vaccine would have several uses. It could treat emergency overdoses, play a role in ongoing therapy for opioid use disorders, and help protect service members. Opioids are now being used as chemical weapons, and military personnel are often exposed to them in the field. The vaccine could also be a training tool for drug-sniffing dogs.
The research has only just begun but experts are hopeful about the future potential of the drug. The vaccine could become a powerful tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic, but the need for effective addiction treatment to address the underlying causes of addiction will still remain. Muse Treatment Alcohol & Drug Rehab Los Angeles offers comprehensive holistic treatment for opioid addiction, alcoholism and other substance use disorders. For anyone in need of help or more information, call 800-426-1818.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]