Traditional Chinese medicine in treatment of opiate addiction.
ABSTRACT Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) includes Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Chinese medicine consists of natural products including plants, animals and minerals. TCM has been practiced in China for more than 2000 years, and for the past 200 years has been used in treatment of drug addiction. Ten Chinese medicines for the treatment of opiate addiction have been approved by the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), and at least 6 are in clinical trials. The general therapeutic principle of Chinese medicine developed was based on its unique theory of " reinforcing healthy Qi and resolving and removing effects of toxicity". Acupuncture, another essential part of TCM, which was developed based on the principle that " functions of the human body are controlled by the ' Jing-Luo' and 'Qi-Xue'system" , has been used not only in China, but also in Europe, the USA and other countries, for controlling opiate addiction. There are some advantages in using TCM for opiate detoxification, including less harmful side effects, high safety and ideal effects in the inhibition of protracted withdrawal symptoms and relapse. Co-administration of TCM with modern medicine shows some synergistic effects in detoxification. Many TCM for detoxification also have efficacy in the rehabilitation of abnormal body functions induced by chronic drug use, including improving immune function, increasing working memory and preventing neurological disorder. Given that TCM is effective in the prevention of relapse and causes fewer side effects, it may be used widely in the treatment of opiate addiction.
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ABSTRACT: A major obstacle in treating drug addiction is the severity of opiate withdrawal syndrome, which can lead to unwanted relapse. Mitragynine is the major alkaloid compound found in leaves of Mitragyna speciosa, a plant widely used by opiate addicts to mitigate the harshness of drug withdrawal. A series of experiments was conducted to investigate the effect of mitragynine on anxiety behavior, cortisol level and expression of stress pathway related genes in zebrafish undergoing morphine withdrawal phase. Adult zebrafish were subjected to two weeks chronic morphine exposure at 1.5 mg/L, followed by withdrawal for 24 hours prior to tests. Using the novel tank diving tests, we first showed that morphine-withdrawn zebrafish display anxiety-related swimming behaviors such as decreased exploratory behavior and increased erratic movement. Morphine withdrawal also elevated whole-body cortisol levels, which confirms the phenotypic stress-like behaviors. Exposing morphine-withdrawn fish to mitragynine however attenuates majority of the stress-related swimming behaviors and concomitantly lower whole-body cortisol level. Using real-time PCR gene expression analysis, we also showed that mitragynine reduces the mRNA expression of corticotropin releasing factor receptors and prodynorphin in zebrafish brain during morphine withdrawal phase, revealing for the first time a possible link between mitragynine's ability to attenuate anxiety during opiate withdrawal with the stress-related corticotropin pathway.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e28340. · 4.09 Impact Factor