Potential new drug for cocaine addiction and overdose

Sep 15, 2008
Chemists have developed a substance that could help fight addictions and overdoses of cocaine. Credit: US Drug Enforcement Administration

Chemists are reporting development of what they term the most powerful substance ever discovered for eliminating cocaine from the body, an advance that could lead to the world's first effective medicine for fighting overdoses and addictions of the illicit drug. Their findings are scheduled for the Sept. 24 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

In the new study, Chang-Guo Zhan and colleagues point out no effective anti-cocaine medication currently exists for cocaine abuse. One of the most promising approaches focuses on substances that mimic butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), a natural blood protein that helps break down and inactivate the drug, researchers say. However, natural BChE is too weak and ineffective for medical use, the researchers note.

The researchers describe design and produce the most potent, stable BChE structure ever produced. In lab studies, that form of BChE broke down, or metabolized, cocaine 2,000 times faster than the body's natural version of BChE, the scientists say, noting that reducing levels of the drug in the blood is a key to fighting overdose in humans.

The substance also prevented convulsions and death when injected into mice that were given overdoses of cocaine, they note.

Article: "Most Efficient Cocaine Hydrolase Designed by Virtual Screening of Transition States"; dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja803646t

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Pterostilbene, a molecule similar to resveratrol, as a potential treatment for obesity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Plant-derived scavengers prowl the body for nerve toxins

Nov 23, 2010

The brain is forever chattering to itself, via electrical impulses sent along its hard-wired neuronal "Ethernet." These e-messages are translated into chemical transmissions, allowing communication across ...

Recommended for you

Developing the battery of the future

8 hours ago

The search for the next generation of batteries has led researchers at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron to try new methods and materials that could lead to the development of safer, cheaper, more powerful, ...

Water purification at the molecular level

17 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Fracking for oil and gas is a dirty business. The process uses millions of gallons of water laced with chemicals and sand. Most of the contaminated water is trucked to treatment plants to be ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gmurphy
5 / 5 (2) Sep 15, 2008
sniff sniff
Sanescience
not rated yet Sep 15, 2008
Hmm, just need an implantable device that detects the presence of cocaine and releases this drug into the system and POOF, no more addiction to cocaine.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.