Science

Opioid Withdrawal Can Be Treated By Anti-Gout Medication

By Donna Marie Lapena Padua , Feb 01, 2017 01:35 AM EST
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People may now have a better way to deal with the pains of opioid withdrawal as a new study performed by researchers tested the effects of anti-gout medicines for it. The scientists then claim that they have identified the right targets in the body which are responsible for showing symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The study was performed using mice and rats where researchers reportedly confirmed their hypothesis.

Researchers from the University of Calgary experimented on mice and rats to see how a common anti-gout medication can reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. To better understand the effects of drug withdrawal symptoms, the team of neuroscientists reportedly identified the right target in the spinal cord and the brain which they believe are responsible for opioid withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, reports note on how these experts were able to single out the anti-gout medicine that could possibly help ease the pains associated to opioid withdrawal.

The study, which was published on Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, disclosed how the anti-gout medication probenecid is associated with overcoming opioid addiction. The researchers found out that the immune cell of the animals located in the brain and spinal cord was associated with opioid withdrawal. According to Global News, the drug was then targeted to such part, and having tested it on addicted mice and rats, researchers then found how it was effective at reducing the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms.

The lead author Tuan Trang then said that their findings could eventually help people suffering from opioid withdrawal symptoms. He said that the anti-gout drug can alleviate the adverse experience of the drug withdrawal. As for the million-dollar question on how well the results will translate from mice to humans, Trang only said that the study enhances the researchers' understanding of the withdrawal mechanism. Also, according to him, this in turn establishes a good starting point in identifying the candidate drugs to treat such condition in addicted people.

According to Gen, suppressing microglia cells in rats experiencing opioid withdrawal can significantly reduce negative symptoms. "So it could be another drug that we could use in combination with some of the existing therapies to help an individual get past this episode of withdrawal," Trang said in a statement as noted by CTV News. He added that the drug may even help people get off of opioids.

Following the positive results they acquired from their tests, the researchers then are hopeful of getting approval for the drug use for opioid withdrawal. As the anti-gout drug has already been approved safe and effective by the Health Canada for gout, Trang and his team believe that using it rather than coming up with a new drug that needs to be tested from scratch will be easier. This is said to be more convenient as opioid addiction is already at a widespread most especially in the United States.

Finally, Trang admitted that his team is still at the very early stages of making sure that their trials are precise and safe. Several other universities that participate in the research include the University of Toronto, University of Laval, Quebec and the University of California. The research hopes to help with the growing problem of opioid overdose where 91 Americans reportedly die every day as well as easing the pains of opioid withdrawal for those who choose to be sober.

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