GVG Trials Show Promise

Good results are being seen in clinical trials using GVG (gamma-vinyl GABA) to treat long-term addiction to methamphetamine and cocaine, Medical News Today reported Nov. 19.

Results from a second clinical trial conducted by the New York University School of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory found no apparent vision-related side-effects among patients taking GVG.

Currently, GVG is approved for treating epilepsy in many countries, but not in the United States. In the U.S., epilepsy patients who had taken cumulative doses over 1,500 grams experienced a reduction in their field of vision. As a result, the second clinical trial focused on whether visual side-effects would occur with low doses of GVG.

The study of 30 patients addicted to meth and/or cocaine found that GVG encouraged extended abstinence from drug use.

“The fact that this drug appears to be effective in treating addiction to both cocaine and methamphetamine is particularly promising, given that methamphetamine abuse is one of the fastest growing drug problems in this country,” said Jonathan Brodie, M.D., Ph.D., who led the study.

According to the research, GVG blocks neurological and behavioral changes associated with drug addiction.

“We are unaware of any pharmacologic strategy that has been useful in treating methamphetamine dependence, making these findings with GVG unique both in terms of safety and efficacy,” said Brodie, a Marvin Stern Professor of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. “We expect that the small clinical trials of GVG will lead to larger, placebo-controlled studies of this promising treatment.”

The study's findings are published in the February 2005 issue of Synapse, now available online.

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