University of Florida neuroscientists have identified a novel way to preventively decrease the reward effects of methamphetamine on the brain using on-the-market medicines, a finding that holds the potential to break the cycle of addiction for methamphetamine users.
Currently, there are no federally approved therapeutic medicines specifically targeted to treat meth addiction. But in the journal Nature Communications published today, a multi-university team led by UF’s Habibeh Khoshbouei, Ph.D., Pharm.D., demonstrates in a rodent model how preventive use of medications known as sigma-1 receptor agonists — a group including the antidepressant Prozac — decreases the euphoria that normally results from methamphetamine intake.
The researchers found that in mice, a low dose of a sigma-1 receptor agonist thwarts the expected increase in firing activity of dopamine neurons in the brain that goes hand-in-hand with meth use. Dopamine is a chemical messenger released during pleasurable activities such as eating and sex.