Isradipine, the high blood pressure drug suppressed or erased memories which fed an alcohol or cocaine addiction in lab tests, revealing the potential to help addicted individuals avoid relapse.
Sold under the name of DynaCirc, the drug is already gained approval by the FDA for use with high blood pressure patients so the researchers are sure that the clinical trials could be carried out more quickly than if a new drug had been used.
Scientists were aware of the situation since the 1970s, a drug craving addiction being tied to habits and memories, that is. All of these have made the brain to get a substance based on an environment of situation.
“Addicts show up to the rehab center already addicted,” said Hitoshi Morikawa, an associate professor of neuroscience at The University of Texas at Austin, in a press release. “Many addicts want to quit, but their brains are already conditioned. This drug might help the addicted brain become de-addicted.”
In the lab tests, scientists conditioned rats for associating either a white or a black room with an alcohol or cocaine addiction. When the rats were provided with a choice to choose either, they always preferred the one linked to their addiction.
The first day that rats were given does of isradipine, they showed a preference for their addiction room, however they showed no preference on days after. Researchers said they found no equivalent in the control group and believe the drug either suppressed or erased the addiction memory associated with the room.
Drugs formulated to decrease blood pressure stop the flow of a certain type of ion channel found in heart and blood vessels, and in the brain cells too. Using isradipine for blocking the channels also appeared to reverse the habits of addiction which became hardwired in the brain, the researchers wrote.