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Weight Loss Drug Shows Potential In Fight Against Opiate Addiction

March 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In an animal study, a prescription weight-loss drug was shown to reduce the craving for the opioid oxycodone, according to U.S. researchers.  Opiate abuse is a major public health problem: deaths from prescription opiate overdose in America have quadrupled since 1999.The preclinical study offers a ray of hope, finding that lorcaserin (trade name Belviq, Arena Pharmaceuticals) alters the serotonin system by changing chemical signals that affect the feeling of fullness. It works much the same way with opiates, as serotonin regulates the brain circuitry involved in drug reward. The researchers said the effectiveness of lorcaserin in reducing oxycodone cravings underscores the potential for lorcaserin in treating opioid use disorder.
Harshini Neelakantan et al., "Lorcaserin Suppresses Oxycodone Self-Administration and Relapse Vulnerability in Rats", ACS Chemical Neuroscience, March 31, 2017, © American Chemical Society
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