News of the WeekNeurobiology

Drug May Suppress the Craving for Nicotine

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Science  04 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5395, pp. 1797-1799
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5395.1797

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Summary

In the January 1999 issue of Synapse, a neuroanatomist and his colleagues report that in baboons and rats, an epilepsy drug called gamma vinyl-GABA (GVG) suppresses a neurochemical hallmark of nicotine and other addictive drugs: a rise of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain's "reward centers." It also stops behaviors in rats thought to mirror human cravings for nicotine. The new work, if confirmed in human studies, may lead to a drug that could help many people stop smoking by suppressing their "need" for nicotine and possibly by reducing the "high" as well. GVG may also have potential as a therapy for cocaine addiction, because the same team reported similar findings for that drug in the August issue of Synapse.

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