Friday, October 14, 2011

Cocaine Vaccine shows some positive results

For a few years, researchers have been trying to develop a vaccine that could block the effects of cocaine. The idea is that if we could get the immune system to make antibodies that bind to the cocaine the antibodies would bind to the cocaine and prevent the cocaine from getting into the brain. This of course would prevent the patient from getting high. Until now researchers have not been very successful. It turns out it is not that easy to have the immune system make antibodies against cocaine, and you need very high levels to attach to all of the cocaine that someone could use.

Things may be about to change. A recent study lead by Tom Kosten at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas showed some impressive results. They had 115 patients who received either a series of 5 vaccinations over 12 weeks or placebo. They were followed for an additional 12 weeks. They all received some counseling. The results showed that 38% had a significant reduction in their cocaine use. Most interesting was the fact that the patients who produced the most antibodies were also the ones who had the biggest reduction in cocaine use. It seems that it was the antibodies that were causing the positive results. There were no adverse reactions to the vaccines.

This was just a short term pilot study so we will need to wait as the company that produced the vaccine continues to improve the product and study it in larger trials and longer term trials. For now though, the results look very promising.

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