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    Poles found a compound that may be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of morphine addiction

    Polish scientists have discovered a compound that may be an effective drug in alleviating the physical symptoms of morphine addiction and reducing emotional disturbances that occur during the morphine withdrawal episodes.

    Although much research is needed before the final decision to use this substance in addicted patients is made, this discovery undoubtedly gives a glimmer of hope to people struggling with addiction disease. So far, drugs that eliminate withdrawal symptoms are very limited and the effectiveness of pharmacotherapy of addiction is estimated at only about 30%. Hence there is a need to search for new solutions.

    Linagliptin is a drug that is registered in Poland (although not reimbursed) for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes (T2D). It belongs to the group of new generation antidiabetic drugs that increase the activity of Glucagon-like peptide-1(7-36)amide (GLP-1). It is secreted in the small intestine during food consumption and influences the activity of the pancreas: it increases insulin secretion and reduces glucagon. Thanks to this, it plays an important role in the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism, and especially contributes to lowering the level of postprandial glycemia.

    GLP-1 has been known to scientists for quite a short time because it degrades very quickly under physiological conditions which makes it difficult to study.

    “The great advantage of these drugs is the fact that, even at a higher dose, they do not cause hypoglycemia – a serious complication of insulin therapy or older generation oral antidiabetic drugs. (…) Taking into account the presence of receptors for the GLP-1 peptide in the mesolimbic system of the brain and structures closely related to it (hippocampus, amygdala or olfactory bulb, which are involved in the regulation of drive, motivational and emotional behavior), the question arises whether the GLP-1 peptide is in addition to reducing appetite, it can also be an important factor in reducing cravings for addictive substances.”, dr hab. Joanna Listos says.

    Based on the conducted experiments, the researchers from Lublin conclude that increase in the activity of the GLP-1 peptide may have a beneficial effect on the activity of the brain, the functioning of which has been altered due to long-term exposure to opioids.

    “Increasing the activity of the GLP-1 peptide may contribute to both the reduction of the physical symptoms of addiction and the reduction of behavioral effects resulting from opioid withdrawal, such as depressive and anxiety behaviors”, they conclude. 

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