Alzheimer’s is a continuing nerve related disease which gradually worsens over time. The nervous system, especially the neurons in the brain of an individual, degenerate over time in this disease and the most common symptom is memory loss. Galantamine, a cholinesterase inhibitor, is one of the most promising drugs used for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders including Alzheimer’s.
A recent study showed that in addition to treating Alzheimer’s, galantamine has the potential to be used in the treatment of opioid addiction including fentanyl addiction. It has been presumed that galantamine performs two primary functions, that of raising the levels of acetylcholine in the brain and attaching it to nicotinic receptors. These receptors are responsible for addiction to various substances including nicotine.
Study demonstrated effectiveness of galantamine in reducing opioid use
Some of the past clinical researches have observed a reduction in cigarette and alcohol use with the help of galantamine. In addition, some other studies have also shown that cholinesterase inhibitors helped lower the use of opioids, cocaine, and nicotine.
The present study adopted a method of randomized controlled trail of galantamine administration to participants to study the reduction in opioid use. The researchers worked on the hypothesis that cholinesterase inhibitors including galantamine had the ability to counter addiction.
They selected 120 participants for the study with an average age of 38 years. Of these, 52 percent of the participants were white and 67 percent were male. The study period was for 12 weeks which was followed by a 6-month follow up period. The study included a thorough investigation of a placebo controlled, randomized trial to test the efficiency of galantamine along with computer controlled cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a treatment option for cocaine use disorder in patients taking methadone for co-occurring opioid use disorder.
The study showed a noteworthy decrease in the incidence of cocaine usage over time for both the treatment methods, individually.
The secondary analysis studied opioid presence in urine samples of the participants both during treatment and the follow-up period. The findings came out negative showing no presence of opioids in the case of galantamine vs placebo treatment. In fact, the reduction in opioid use due to galantamine was observed during the early phases of treatment.
Lead author Dr. Kathleen Carroll, from the department of psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, said that her team was very happy and excited with the preliminary findings. She said further researches were needed in order to establish new strategies to treat opioid addiction.
Good news for opioid addiction treatment
Sounding excited and optimistic about the findings, Dr. Scott Moeller, Ph.D., and Anissa Abi-Dargham, M.D., from the department of psychiatry, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York, stated that the study seemed to have uncovered a possibly impactful treatment option for the opioid epidemic which currently plagues the country. They added that the study suggested several sensational approaches for future researches that can help gather information about galantamine as a medication.
With the positive effects of galantamine in reducing alcohol and cigarette use, experts are hopeful that it might also be developed as an alternate medication for improved opioid use disorder treatment.
Treatment for opioid addiction
Opioid addiction treatment starts with a medically supervised detox that helps the body get rid of the toxins accumulated with years of abuse. The detox needs to be complimented with medication and sessions of counseling and alternate therapy. Therapy helps in identifying the triggers and learning coping skills to lead a sober life even after the treatment completes.
If you or a loved one is battling an addiction to opioids or any other drug and is looking for licensed drug addiction treatment centers in California, then get in touch with the California Drug Addiction Helpline. We can connect you with the best drug rehabs in California offering customized opioid treatment plans. For more information about such centers, call our 24/7 drug addiction treatment helpline 855-980-1946 and speak to a member of our team. You can also chat online to a representative for further assistance.