A new study suggests buprenorphine may help treat cocaine addiction, however such treatment itself creates a potential for addiction and therefore is not approved by the FDA, according to a report published this week by Science Magazine. A recently studied analog for the medication, however, is showing potential to curb cocaine addiction with a lower abuse potential.
“Our research aims to balance the many different biological activities of buprenorphine to make it better at treating cocaine addiction,” researcher Keith Olson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, told Science. “We hope this work can eventually help treat addiction without the abuse potential of buprenorphine.”
To that end, research performed in mice has shown that a chemical modification made to buprenorphine can improve the medication’s ability to effectively treat cocaine addiction while minimizing the potential for abuse. Researchers found that a buprenorphine analog called BU10119 was more effective at activating nociceptin receptors, which prevent cocaine relapse, and worse at activating mu opioid receptors.
The researchers who conducted the study published their findings in the latest edition of the FASEB Journal.