Tag Archives: Study

New study details how cocaine really works in the brain, offers possibility of drug to treat addiction

Boulder, CO (PRWEB) February 03, 2015

A research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has discovered a mechanism in the brain that is key to making cocaine seem pleasurable, a finding that could lead to a drug treatment for fighting addiction.

The findings build on past research also involving CU-Boulder that found the same mechanism in the brain also interacts with heroin, oxycodone, morphine and other opioid drugs to amplify their addictiveness. The latest study suggests that the mechanism plays a key role in the addictiveness of many abused drugs, possibly including methamphetamine and alcohol.

The study, which also involved scientists at the University of Adelaide in Australia and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is being published today in the Nature journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Cocaine works by increasing the amount of dopamine, a chemical associated with feelings of pleasure, in the brain. Dopamine is part of the brain’s reward pathway, and it’s released to encourage animals to repeat behaviors, typically those that are key for survival such as eating and reproduction.

Researchers have known that cocaine blocks the brain’s ability to reabsorb dopamine, increasing its excitatory effects on neurons of the drug reward pathway.

In the new study, the research team shows that cocaine’s impact on neurons does not fully explain the drug’s dramatic effects on reward. In laboratory studies involving rats and mice, the scientists demonstrated that a second mechanism in the brain potently contributes to the abuse potential of cocaine.

The second mechanism centers on glial cells, the key component of the brain’s immune system. Cocaine binds to glial cells at a location called Toll Like Receptor 4 (TLR4). The glial cells then trigger an inflammatory response in the brain, exciting neurons and further increasing the amount of dopamine pumped into the brain.

“We’ve demonstrated conclusively that cocaine interacts with TLR4 to produce a pro-inflammatory effect in the brain,” said Alexis Northcutt, a CU-Boulder research associate in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and lead author of the paper. “The effect is necessary to convey the drug’s rewarding effects. Without it, reward is greatly reduced.”

The research team found that blocking the ability of cocaine to bind to TLR4 dramatically reduces the rewarding effects of cocaine. That finding suggests that blocking TLR4 on glial cells could be a therapeutic approach for treating drug abuse.

Previous research in the lab of CU-Boulder Professor Linda Watkins, the senior author of this study, has shown that a drug known as (+)-naltrexone, can be used to keep opioids from binding to TLR4.

“We found the same results when studying cocaine, which means the same drug, (+)-naltrexone, might be useful for treating a wider range of drug addictions,” Watkins said. “The exciting news is that this drug is already in development by Xalud Therapeutics.”

San Francisco-based Xalud Therapeutics, a CU-Boulder spinoff company based on Watkins’ research, is currently moving (+)-naltrexone toward human clinical trials.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and the Department of Defense, as well as the Australian Research Council.


Healthcare Data Solutions Case Study Confirms Pharmacies Saved Millions in Potential Hydrocodone Fines

Lincoln, NE (PRWEB) March 23, 2015

A case study by Healthcare Data Solutions (HDS), confirms that its Prescriber Validation Subscription Service (PVSS) solution helped pharmacies save millions in potential hydrocodone fines. The case study was conducted to observe the impact of the DEA’s change of hydrocodone combination drugs (HCPs) from Schedule III to Schedule II prior to and after the October 6, 2014 deadline. As a result of the schedule change, many prescribers who were previously authorized to write prescriptions for drugs such as Vicodin®, Lorcet® and Lortab® became ineligible under the new legislation. Pharmacies were also tasked with the dual responsibility of identifying newly ineligible prescribers and prohibiting refills of hydrocodone prescriptions written prior to October 6th. The study found that by using PVSS, Healthcare Data Solutions’ pharmacy customers successfully avoid financial fines ranging from $ 1 million – $ 10 million and prison terms up to 30 years.

Recognizing the ramifications of the schedule change for its pharmacy customers, Healthcare Data Solutions (HDS) took the initiative to help pharmacies prepare. Ninety days prior to the change, HDS sent Prescriber Validation Subscription Service (PVSS) customers a list of doctors who prescribed hydrocodone drugs, which enabled those pharmacies to flag prescribers after the change took effect. Additionally, by integrating timely updates from the Medi-Span® Controlled Substances File from Wolters Kluwer, HDS was also able to send PVSS clients warning and rejection messages ahead of schedule.

Prior to the schedule change, Prescriber Validation Subscription Service (PVSS) from Healthcare Data Solutions sent 259 warnings and rejection messages for problematic hydrocodone prescriptions. That number increased 20 times to 5,180, just weeks after the schedule change.

“This case study proves what an invaluable solution Prescriber Validation Subscription Service (PVSS) provides to pharmacy clients not only on a daily basis but also when regulatory changes arise,” said Miranda Rochol, Vice President of Product and Strategy at Healthcare Data Solutions. “With PVSS, our pharmacy clients are continuously assured that they can remain in compliance with new regulations as they occur – without any disruptions to regular business operations.”

To access Healthcare Data Solutions’ case study, visit: http://www.healthcaredatasolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Hydrocodone-Case-Study.pdf


About Healthcare Data Solutions:

Healthcare Data Solutions (HDS) is a leading healthcare information services company focused on building and maintaining the most accurate, compliance-grade data on Physicians, Dentists, Nurse Practitioners and other Healthcare Providers, as well as Pharmacies, Hospitals, Health Systems, ACOs, IDNs, GPOs and other Healthcare Organizations. Healthcare Data Solutions provides healthcare data, physician validation programs, data processing, compliance services, web services and new customer acquisition programs for leading healthcare firms. Compliance clients can access over 5 million healthcare provider profiles to crosswalk government databases for accurate reporting. Healthcare Data Solutions is the fastest growing healthcare data services company in the United States on both the Inc. 5000 and Deloitte Fast 500 list. For more information, visit http://www.HealthcareDataSolutions.com.