Diabetes Medications May Improve Addiction Treatment

By Staff Writer

Two classes of medications used to help diabetics control their blood sugar levels may also be useful in treating addiction, according to two new studies published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Thiazolidinediones and fibrates help diabetics control their symptoms by targeting peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, or PPARs, in the brain. This reduces inflammation that can cause insulin resistance. However, these receptors have also been implicated in reward responses in the brain, which are known to underpin addiction.

The first study showed that activating PPARs in both rats and monkeys who had been trained to use nicotine reduced their cravings and drug-seeking behavior significantly. In the second study, rats that were trained to consume alcohol showed fewer signs of addiction and withdrawal after being administered medications to activate PPARs.

The researchers said that the continuing study of the brain is expanding scientists’ knowledge of the functions and processes of the organ. This may soon lead to breakthroughs similar to the ones made in the current study that improves the ability of drug rehab programs to cure addicts.