SAN ANTONIO, Tex. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Opioids, mostly used as pain killers, are incredibly addictive. Although there are many kinds, fentanyl is the drug of choice of addicts. It is 100 times more potent than morphine. Now, there’s a long-lasting treatment option called m-cam-that may offer hope to millions. It’s a discovery that one researcher calls the most exciting in his career.
Today, Valarie McDonald runs two sober living houses, but she used to be hooked on fentanyl, even ending up in jail.
“When I could, I would use it. And, we would take the patches and cut them up and chew on them,” McDonald described.
Opioids are hard to kick because the brain is tricked.
“The term is often used that they hijack the rewarding system in the brain and essentially take over,” Charles P. France, Ph. D, professor in the Department of Pharmacology at UT Health San Antonio and a Robert A Welch Distinguished University Chair in chemistry said.
For years, Narcan, or Naloxone, has been the only overdose rescue drug.
Dr. France told Ivanhoe, “It rescues people from opioid overdoses if given promptly. That’s the good news. The bad news is it doesn’t last very long. Its duration is about 45 minutes to an hour.”
“I got Narcanned twice the night I overdosed,” McDonald said.
And then she walked right from the hospital to a motel and used again. Her sister had an ultimatum.
“She said, if you decide to get in that car, I’m taking your daughter from you … and I left,” McDonald said.
Researchers are desperate to find a longer-lasting drug.
“It’s real name is methocinnamox. We call it MCAM. The difference with MCAM compared to Naloxone is that once it binds to that place in the brain, it doesn’t unbind,” Dr. France explained.
Giving the addict a rest from the opioid high.
“A single injection of MCAM will rescue an individual from overdose and prevent them from overdosing, even with very large doses of opioids, for a week or longer. There is a desperate need for this drug,” he continued.
An opportunity to add another weapon for those fighting opioid addiction.
Researchers say they hope to have this drug in human clinical trials within the next 18 to 24 months.
Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Producer; Bruce Maniscalo, Videographer; Ken Ashe, Editor.
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TOPIC: MCAM: Blocks Opioids Fatal Effects?
REPORT: MB #4706
BACKGROUND: Opioids initiate a release of endorphins in a person’s brain. Endorphins can reduce one’s perception of pain and boost feelings of pleasure, causing a temporary state of relaxation. A craving for this feeling can take place as soon as the opioid wears off. Once a drug takes over the person’s life, it does not become a matter of choice, it is a matter of biology and it is very hard to break the habit. The opioid crisis has had three phases since its beginning. The first stage was the overprescription of opioids, it then led to the addiction to cheap heroin and now the issue has passed on to fentanyl and fentanyl-related derivatives. This is why the need for treatment to combat overdose is really important. In some cases now, the issue with opiods are that they are being altered or laced with fentanyl, unbeknownst to them, and people are dying. More than 100 people a day in the United States are dying from drug overdoses. The thought process among doctors was if patients are given a drug that provides long lasting relief, then individuals won’t need to take them multiple times a day, which was not the case.
NALOXONE AND OTHER TREATMENTS: Addiction occurs when drugs that are consumed by an individual are bonded with receptors creating an overall feeling of well-being. Drugs such as Naloxone and Narcan can bind to the same receptors as heroin, fentanyl or any other opioid binds to. If enough Naloxone is administered then the opioid can’t bind to the receptor. A patient can be rescued for a time being but if they have taken more doses of an opioid then the amount of Naloxone given, the drug and its effects can overcome the Naloxone that’s been administered. Narcan and Naloxone are very effective for rescuing people from opioid overdose if given promptly. They only last about 45 minutes to an hour. If someone is rescued by using Naloxone and it wears off, then the effect of the drug will resurface and the abuser may die. Multiple doses may be needed to keep someone alive. The short duration of Naloxone limits its ability to help those who suffer. Once entering an emergency room for an overdose, when given Naloxone it is only a matter of minutes before the patient’s respiration is normalized. Depending on the amount of opioid consumed and its potency, once the Naloxone wears off, sedation may set in again and the patients will return to the same state they entered the emergency room in. There is still no alleviation of craving. Those who suffer from withdrawal symptoms which may occur following the injection of Naloxone may suffer from gastrointestinal distress, sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea.
(Source:https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/opioid-overdose-reversal-naloxone-narcan-evzio, Dr. Frances.)
METHOCINNAMOX: A drug named Methocinnamox, or MCAM for short, is the newest medicine being used to combat opioid abuse. MCAM was first discovered and published about in 2000 but was discarded as simply a medicine for research purposes. It is now being studied very closely to determine its effects on opioid use disorder and for reversing opioid withdrawal. Similar to Naloxone, it binds to the same receptors in a patient’s brain and can rescue people from an overdose and can also prevent the effects of opioids such as fentanyl and heroin. What makes MCAM more effective than Naloxone is that once it binds to those receptors in someone’s brain, it does not unbind. MCAM alleviates the issue of relapsing and effects of opioids resurfacing. One injection can prevent overdosing with even high amounts of opioid doses for a week or longer. It prevents relapsing by binding to the receptor. Following the injection of MCAM on a patient, users will no longer receive the same high they once got from using opioids.
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