Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Drugs Accustomed To Treat Addiction

Drugs Used to Treat Addiction

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), in the last half of 2003 alone there were 627,923 visits to the emergency room of hospitals across the nation related to drug use. Of these, more than half were related to more than one illicit drug or drugs combined with alcohol. With so many people suffering from addictions, and many of those addictions leading to serious consequences such as hospitalization, additional financial resources have been increasingly allotted to research new ways to treat the disease of addiction. One of these research methods is treating the addiction with other drugs and medications with less addictive properties and side effects.


For years companies have been creating patches and gums to help cigarette smokers wean themselves off cigarettes. However, for many people these products do not work as they still contain small amounts of nicotine. Now on the market is a prescription drug called Zyban. Zyban does not contain nicotine, and works by helping to reduce the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking. Without the heavy withdrawal symptoms, many Zyban users have been able to quit smoking easier on the medication.


Methadone is a medication that has been used for many years to treat opiate addiction, specifically focusing on those that have an addiction to heroin or opiate prescription medications such as morphine. Methadone works in two primary ways. First, it works as a cross tolerant with other opiates that the addict may be using. This means that the methadone cancels out many of the euphoric effects that the addict would normally experience while taking the other illicit drugs. Second, methadone works by lessening the withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping the use of the illicit opiate use. This allows the user to slowly lower his dose of methadone until he becomes both methadone- and illicit-opiate free.


Dexamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that is normally used to treat issues including attention deficit disorders and narcolepsy. However, in some cases it has proved effective in helping to treat those addicted to illicit stimulants such as methamphetamine. Dexamphetamine works by creating a cross-tolerant effect similar to methadone. When users try to take other illicit stimulants, the cross reaction with the Dexamphetamine will cancel out the desired results or "high" feeling that the user would normally get. The danger with Dexamphetamine is that it also has a high risk for abuse. However, the abuse rates are much lower than those of methamphetamine users.


Alcohol is one of the most troubling addictions facing our country. This is largely because alcohol is a relatively easy drug to get a hold of, and is also legal throughout the United States. There are also less social repercussions for alcohol use. One of the most popular drugs for treating an alcohol addiction is Disulfiram, also known as Antabuse. Disulfiram works by creating a sensitivity to alcohol. When alcohol is ingested by the user, the alcohol reacts with the Disulfiram in the blood stream. The chemical reaction that takes place causes the user to literally become sick and unable to continue drinking.


Bromocriptine is a dopamine receptor agonist that in many cases has been found to help abusers of cocaine successfully reduce or quit their use of the illicit drug. Normally, when a cocaine user takes the drug, he receives a "high" when the drug reacts during dopamine reuptake. Since Bromocriptine blocks dopamine reuptake, the body is no longer able to receive as much of an effect from the drug. This allows the user to come off of cocaine without as many or as severe withdrawal symptoms.

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