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Charleston, SC - A pill could soon be developed to help meth addicts kick their habit. And laboratory rats hold the key to treating this addiction.
This lab rat presses a bar that gives him a dose of methamphetamine and in a short time he's addicted to the drug exhibited by hyper activity. But after a dose of this experimental powder call MTEP, the rodents kicked this meth habit.
"It was pretty much an immediate affect of them not pursuing the meth, “ said MUSC researcher Dr. Foster Olive who conducted a one year study on MTEP. He also found that it decreases the rat's chance of relapse. He says it could have the same affect on humans addicted to meth since rats and humans have a similar genetic make-up.
"Rats tend to exhibit a lot of behavior similar to humans. They'll seek out food and will give themselves any drug abused by humans," according to Olive.
MTEP binds to a protein in the rat’s brain affected by meth. A similar drug has been used to treat lab rats that were addicted to other substances.
"It's been shown to reduce rodents willingness to take alcohol and cocaine and nicotine," Olive explained.
Olive hopes to soon be able to test MTEP on humans.
"Hopefully compounds like MTEP will eventually make their way into clinical trials to be tested to see if they reduce the cravings or amount of intact that a person addicted to meth takes in," Olive said.
Doctors who treat meth addicts say medication to stop the cravings is crucial since current treatment methods that involve behavior modification are not very successful.
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