Yves De Koninck recently gave an interview to Le Soleil newspaper about an important discovery published in Nature Medicine which offers new hope to people suffering from dependency to morphine and fentanyl. In the interview, Yves De Koninck indicates that the discovery his team participated in could help people get out of their dependent state by blocking withdrawal symptoms, without blocking the pain relieving effects of morphine and derived drugs.
This study singled out the important role a protein called pannexin-1 plays in the development of withdrawal symptoms, and led the team to look for drugs that could block this protein. They identified two molecules that could do this, probenecid, which is used to treat gout, and mefloquine, used to treat malaria. As these two drugs are already approved for use in humans, this could greatly accelerate clinical trials, and if they are positive, the use of these drugs to treat dependent people. The researchers also demonstrated, in rodents, that these drugs do not block the pain relieving effects of opioids such as morphine and fentanyl.
Read the interview with Yves De Koninck in Le Soleil about this discovery:
Morphine et fentanyl: lueur d'espoir pour combattre la dépendance
Read the article in Nature Medicine:
Burma NE, Bonin RP, Leduc-Pessah H, Baimel C, Cairncross ZF, Mousseau M, Shankara JV, Stemkowski PL, Baimoukhametova D, Bains JS, Antle MC, Zamponi GW, Cahill CM, Borgland SL, DeKoninck Y, Trang T. Blocking microglial pannexin-1 channels alleviates morphine withdrawal in rodents. Nat Med. 2017 Jan 30. doi: 10.1038/nm.4281.
Read the Press release by University of Calgary:
Researchers identify drug that alleviates opioid withdrawal - Existing drug is effective in preventing withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent rodents