A Possible Mechanism Underlying the Effectiveness of \ in the Treatment of Drug Addiction
Chae Ha Yang, Bong Hyo Lee, Sung Hoon Sohn
With Acupuncture Treatment of Drug Addiction as with cocaine, amphetamines, and morphine, addiction to nicotine is believed to result from increased release of dopamine in the region of nucleus accumbens.[104,105] One study reported the effect of acupuncture on behavioral locomotor activity and c-fos expression in the nucleus accumbens and striatum utilizing the immunocytochemical detection of the Fos protein in nicotine-sensitized rats. Similar to morphine or ethanol-sensitized rats, acupuncture significantly attenuated the expected increase in nicotine-induced locomotor activity and FLI in the nucleus accumbens and striatum to subsequent nicotine challenge. These findings suggest that acupuncture produces a therapeutic effect on nicotine addiction, possibly by modulating postsynaptic neuronal activity in the nucleus accumbens and the striatum.
Clinical trials are currently underway to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating drug addiction.[15,107] Yet, there are still many unanswered questions about the basic mechanisms of acupuncture. Additional research using animal models is of primary importance in understanding the basic mechanisms of acupuncture. Chronic exposure to drugs of abuse produces a withdrawal state as reflected in increases in brain reward thresholds, and this change in reward threshold appears to be opposite to the actions of the drug administered acutely. These opposite proponent and opponent processes during the development of drug addiction may contribute to the intense drug craving experienced by addicts. Based largely on animal self-administration, the reinforcing effects of drugs have been linked to central dopamine activity in the mesolimbic dopamine system. While little is known about the basic mechanism of acupuncture in treating drug addiction, the neurochemical and behavioral data reviewed earlier showed that acupuncture directly or indirectly affects the mesolimbic dopamine system. These results suggest that acupuncture helps to maintain the homeostasis and balance between positive and negative processes involved in drug addiction. Moreover, in a more general sense, these results suggest that acupuncture can be used as a therapeutic intervention for correcting reversible malfunction of the body by directing brain pathways and thus contributes to balance in the central nervous system by regulating neurotransmitters. Future studies should determine if acupuncture therapy can influence any of the other neurotransmitters (GABA and glutamate) believed to play a role in regulating dopamine release. It would also be interesting to assess the effect of acupuncture on drug reward thresholds in animals trained to self-administer drugs of abuse.
-Resources- Chae Ha Yang, Bong Hyo Lee, Sung Hoon Sohn
A randomized controlled trial of auricular acupuncture for cocaine dependence.
Avants SK, Margolin A, Holford TR, Kosten TR.
Substance Abuse Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.
RESULTS: Longitudinal analysis of the urine data for the intent-to-treat sample showed that patients assigned to acupuncture were significantly more likely to provide cocaine-negative urine samples relative to both the relaxation control (odds ratio, 3.41; 95% confidence interval, 1.33-8.72; P =. 01) and the needle-insertion control (odds ratio, 2.40; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-5.75; P =.05).
Findings from the current study suggest that acupuncture shows promise for the treatment of cocaine dependence. Further investigation of this treatment modality appears to be warranted.
Acupuncture Treatment of Drug Addiction