Fentanyl vaccine could eliminate drug 'high'

Fentanyl vaccine could eliminate drug ‘high’

Fentanyl pills found by Drug Enforcement Administration agents are seen in this photo in New York on October 4. (Drug Enforcement Administration/Handout via Reuters)

Researchers have developed a fentanyl vaccine that could eliminate the drug’s “high” by blocking its ability to enter the brain, which could be a major breakthrough in the current opioid crisis.

The study, conducted by a research team led by the University of Houston and funded by the Department of Defense under the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Disorders Research Program, was published in the journal Pharmaceuticals end of October.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, is prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain after surgery or for patients with chronic cancer. an advanced stage. However, illicitly manufactured fentanyl can also be abused for a “short-term high” or “temporary feelings of euphoria” and is deadly when added to street drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and other opioids. “More than 150 people die every day from overdoses linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Colin Haile, associate research professor of psychology and lead author of the study, said in a press release that the vaccine “is capable of generating anti-fentanyl antibodies that bind to consumed fentanyl and prevent it from entering the brain, allowing it to be eliminated from the body through the kidneys.

“Thus, the individual will not experience the euphoric effects and can ‘get back on the train’ to sobriety.”

Haile added that anti-fentanyl antibodies did not cross-react with other opioids, meaning a vaccinated person could still be treated for pain relief with other opioids.

The vaccine caused no adverse side effects in rats involved in lab studies, and clinical trials in humans are planned “soon”, with manufacturing of a clinical-grade vaccine expected to begin in the coming months .

Vaccines that could fight drug addiction — and especially opioid overdoses — have been in the works for some time. Human trials of an experimental opioid vaccine led by scientists at Columbia University and the University of Minnesota Medical School started at the end of last year after the vaccine was shown to be safe and effective in mice.

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