Cocaine Vaccine Tackles Addiction
New treatment mutes drug's effect on the brain
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2009 2:09 AM CDT
Researchers say the 'vaccine' could help many of America's estimated 2 million cocaine users fight their addiction.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – A vaccine-like treatment to fight cocaine addiction has shown promising results in early clinical trials and could pave the way for new treatments to battle nicotine and methamphetamine addiction as well, researchers say. The vaccine created antibodies that prevented cocaine molecules from reaching the brain fast enough to cause a euphoric high, causing 40% of addicts to either quit the drug completely or cut back significantly.

The desire to use cocaine returned after treatment finished, meaning users would likely require booster shots to stay off the drug permanently. "It's for people who are motivated to get off drugs," one researcher told the Los Angeles Times. "It's not a cure-all." The scientists plan to carry out a larger study next year, although they say it will be tough to find a pharmaceutical company willing to invest in developing the vaccine.