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Proposed addiction treatment successful, safe in second small trial

UPTON, NY -- A second, small-scale clinical trial of a proposed addiction treatment originally investigated at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory has produced favorable results in the treatment of long-term addiction to methamphetamine and/or cocaine, with no visual side effects in any of the 30 patients enrolled.

This research on vigabatrin (a.k.a. gamma vinyl GABA, or GVG) was conducted in collaboration with doctors from the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research at a national addiction treatment center in Mexicali, Mexico. The results are published in the February 2005 issue of Synapse, now available online.

"We now have additional clinical data to back up our belief that GVG can be used safely and effectively to treat people suffering from drug addiction," said Brookhaven neuroanatomist Stephen Dewey.

Dewey and Jonathan Brodie, a professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine and this study's lead author, have conducted extensive brain-imaging and behavioral studies on animals at Brookhaven Lab showing that GVG attenuates and in some cases blocks neurological and behavioral changes associated with drug addiction. Last fall, they published results from the first small-scale human clinical trial of GVG for this indication, showing it to be effective in treating cocaine addiction.

"The fact that this drug appears to be effective in treating addiction to both cocaine and methamphetamine is particularly promising, given that methamphetamine abuse is one of the fastest growing drug problems in this country," Brodie said.

These results, especially given the absence of visual side effects in all patients, bring the scientists closer to seeing GVG tested in a larger, placebo-controlled clinical trial in this country.

GVG is approved for the treatment of epilepsy in many countries, including Mexico, but it is not approved for any ind
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Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
kmcnulty@bnl.gov
631-344-8350
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
15-Nov-2004


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