Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

To provide a better understanding of the very important role methadone plays in the treatment of addiction.
 
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 LONG TERM METHADONE TREATMENT CAN AFFECT THE BRAIN (????)

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lilgirllost
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PostSubject: LONG TERM METHADONE TREATMENT CAN AFFECT THE BRAIN (????)   Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:43 pm

Would love to hear what some of you think about this study...........


Long-Term Methadone Treatment Can Affect the Brain



In general, opioids such as heroin and morphine are known to weaken intellectual functions such as learning, memory and attention.

"It is therefore tempting to assume that methadone has similar effects," says researcher Jannike M. Andersen at the NIPH's Division of Forensic Toxicology and Drug Abuse.

For ethical reasons, methadone cannot be tested in long-term studies of healthy volunteers. It is also difficult to draw reliable conclusions from studies with methadone patients, because these studies often encounter methodological problems. Therefore, animals were used in the research.


New study of methadone



In a new study, Andersen and colleagues treated rats daily with methadone for three weeks and studied the rats' attention. The researchers measured how long the rats examined a new object introduced into their cage. The results show that the treatment clearly reduced the attention of the animals. This was true both when the rats had methadone in the body and, more importantly -- a day after the last treatment , when the methadone had been excreted.

"The fact that the attention is impaired even after the drug was no longer present in the body suggests that methadone causes changes in brain cells. We do not yet know exactly what the changes are and how long-lasting they will be" says Andersen.


Is the human brain affected too?



-Does this unwanted effect have significance for people who are treated with methadone over many years?

"A positive treatment outcome depends on the patient functioning well -- both socially and intellectually. If methadone treatment also impairs intellectual functions in humans, it could have a negative effect on the treatment result.

"We must now follow up the results from the animal studies to see if attention problems persist and to learn more about the biological mechanisms involved. Only then can we say anything more about the translation value of our findings for humans," says Andersen.

She is now starting to process new research results about how certain proteins in the brain, which are important for learning and memory, are affected by prolonged methadone use.

The Department of Drug Abuse Research at the NIPH will work on a collaboration project with a research group in the USA in 2011-2012. The researchers are studying the possible biological mechanisms that are affected by methadone. It is hoped that the projects can raise awareness about the impact of prolonged methadone use.


About methadone



Methadone is a synthetic opioid that has been used in the treatment of heroin addicts worldwide since the mid-1960s. In Norway, methadone treatment was introduced in the 1990s.

Source: The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

original link: http://www.healthmagdaily.com/long-term-methadone-treatment-can-affect-the-brain.html


RuthAnn
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PostSubject: Re: LONG TERM METHADONE TREATMENT CAN AFFECT THE BRAIN (????)   Mon May 02, 2011 5:21 pm

So for ethical reasons, Methadone cannot be tested in long term studies of healthy volunteers, does this mean they did a study of healthy volunteers for heroin and morphine?
To study anyone's reaction after giving them Methadone and then removing it seems like a waste of time and money. Of course their attention is going to be distracted. They are more than likely in withdrawal. I don't know about anybody else but when I would be in withdrawal I didn't feel like focusing my attention on anything except getting what I needed to take the pain away.
I think there are too many people trying to prove negative outcomes of Methadone Treatment. It works, it saves lives. It helps people to get their lives back on track. And if it makes someone focus less on something then so be it.


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