New Treatment for Morphine Addiction
Morphine is one of the most effective pain killers available, but its risk of addiction has made it somewhat of a pariah among prescription medications. Thankfully, new research has identified a way to eliminate the addictive nature of morphine without affecting its ability to relieve pain.
Scientists have identified an immune receptor that is tied to morphine addiction. By blocking this receptor, they can administer morphine to a patient without the fear of addiction.
“This could be a brand new way to treat addiction by looking at the immune side of the story rather than what classically is done is looking at the wiring of the brain,” Said lead author of the study, Dr. Mark Hutchinson of the University of Adelaide.
"Both the central nervous system and the immune system play important roles in creating addiction, but our studies have shown we only need to block the immune response in the brain to prevent cravings for opioid drugs," he said.
This is especially good news for people with chronic pain or long term illnesses because it would allow them to use morphine for a longer period of time with fewer risks. The drug could also help morphine and painkiller addicts. By blocking the drugs addictive nature, drug companies could make pills that are nearly impossible to abuse.
The trick to blocking morphine’s addictive nature stems from the immune system. Hutchinson and the rest of the researchers involved in the study found two causes for morphine addiction.
The first is a central nervous system reaction which has been well documented. The second cause is an immune response. Opioids like heroin and morphine cause an immune response that appears to increase their addictive effects. By blocking this immune response, scientists hope to remove the addictive quality of morphine.Continued on the next page