Research leads to more effective methods of treating drug addictions

Jonathan Freedman, Associate Professor of Pharmacology in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Northeastern University’s Bouve College of Health Sciences, has discovered why people who suffer from drug addictions or chronic severe pain crave larger dosages of drug treatments over time.
The findings of Professor Freedman and his team resulted from a three- year project funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland. Freedman and his team discovered a specific molecular change in the brain using a research method called ‘patch clamp electrophysiology” on the surface of rat brain cells, one molecule at a time. They found that rats treated with morphine eventually needed higher dosages of drugs to achieve the same effect. Freedman and team hope this understanding will later give way to practical applications in human patients.
“Scientists have been looking for almost 30 years for the molecular mechanism of opiate drug tolerance, says Professor Freedman. “I hope that our discovery will be a significant step towards understanding it. Eventually, we may be better able to treat heroin addicts, and better able to help people like cancer patients who have chronic severe pain.”

Source: Author Professor J Freedman et al published in  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences December 2000.
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