Researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI)/Columbia are investigating a novel therapy that may have potential in treating opioid abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will be the largest funder of a Columbia/NYSPI safety and tolerability clinical trial of AV411, a non-opioid compound being developed by Avigen, Inc., that may reduce the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and decrease addiction, and may improve the pain relief of opioids.
"In preclinical studies, opioid treatment induces brain glial cell activation that correlates with both opioid tolerance and dependence," explained the study's principle investigator, Sandra D. Comer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Neurobiology at NYSPI and Columbia University. "Preclinical studies have shown that AV411 can attenuate the behavioral signs of opioid withdrawal and corresponding glial cell activation without conferring adverse side effects."
Between 2002 and 2006, illicit opioid use among adolescents increased from 5.4% to 6.4%. According to an August 31 article in the journal Pain, 4.3 million Americans take prescription painkillers regularly, and 10 million adults take them in any given week.
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