04 May Drug is First to Show Promise in Both Relapse, Withdrawal Symptoms For Marijuana Users
A new prescription drug treatment for marijuana dependence may soon receive final approval from the FDA, marking one of the first medications for curbing marijuana dependence that shows tangible results in the setting of a controlled study.
A three month trial of marijuana users who used the medication gabapentin showed notable results. When compared to participants in the placebo group, those on the medication had lower marijuana usage levels, fewer symptoms associated with withdrawal, and better results on behavior tests related to attention span, managing impulses and other cognitive-related areas.
Researchers also noted in a recent Science Daily article that gabepentrin did not seem to carry similar safety concerns as other medications for curbing marijuana use.
Results from the study were published in Neuropsychopharmacology, noting that the medication showed impacts in areas related to the ongoing heightened levels of urges and cravings many people face when working through marijuana withdrawal, as well as strong symptoms of sleep problems, increases in anxiety, and higher levels of irritability.
Compared to other medications, gabepentrin users may have a higher likelihood of avoiding a relapse to marijuana because these key symptoms of withdrawal are lessened.
A common barrier for success in marijuana and alcohol dependence is linked to the ways the withdrawal process activates the individual’s stress-related circuitry. Gabepentrin has also shown promise for its ability to lessen stress reactions in rats with alcohol dependence.
Participants also received counseling in conjunction with gabepentrin. Researchers noted that not only did they show positive outcomes compared to other treatments, but they also showed promise in actually building up more resilient circuitry toward warding off cravings – giving the medication double-power in terms of helping prevent relapse while managing withdrawal symptoms.
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