Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina say that a common amino acid could be used to undo the brain-circuitry changes wrought by cocaine use and reduce craving for the drug, Science Daily reported Oct. 23.
“Our finding suggests a promising therapeutic strategy for cocaine addiction, for which there is no approved treatment,” said lead researcher Khaled Moussawi.
Moussawi and colleagues administered the amino acid N-acetlycysteine (NAC) to lab rats addicted to cocaine and found that the rats stopped seeking drugs, even when given drug-associated cues. NAC is involved in the pathway for the neurotransmitter glutamate.
The study findings were unveiled at the recent annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience.