Addiction Abstracts 1

© 2011

Letter: Ascorbic acid status of the drug addict patient

            (Croft, Davis et al. 1973) Download

A vitamin profile of heroin addiction

            (el-Nakah, Frank et al. 1979) Download

Circulating thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinates, folates, vitamin B12, B6, A, and carotenes of 149 heroin addicts aged 17-60 years were compared to 204 healthy subjects not using drugs or vitamins. Only 24 per cent of the addicts had no evidence of hypovitaminemia; 45 per cent and 37 per cent had vitamin B6 and folate deficit respectively, whereas deficits of thiamine, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and nicotinate were recorded for 13-19 per cent of the addict population; impaired liver function in addicts did not influence these results.

Serum antioxidant micromineral (Cu, Zn, Fe) status of drug dependent subjects: Influence of illicit drugs and lifestyle

            (Hossain, Kamal et al. 2007) Download

BACKGROUND: Use of illicit drugs induces multiple nutrient deficiencies. Drug habit, sexual practice and socioeconomic factors influence the nutrient profile of drug dependent subjects. The literature on this issue is still insufficient. This study has tested the hypothesis that illicit drug use and lifestyle impair mineral status. To test this hypothesis, 253 men multiple drug users of age 18-45 years were recruited to investigate their serum copper, zinc and iron levels. Influence of illicit drugs and their lifestyle on the mineral levels was also examined. The study subjects were drug dependent who had shared needles and had sexual activity with multiple partners. Serum concentrations of the minerals were estimated by atomic absorption flame spectrometry. RESULTS: Results showed a significant increase in serum copper and zinc concentrations, and decrease in iron level in drug dependent subjects. The increase of copper level was found to be much higher than that of zinc. Period of drug abuse had made a significant positive influence on the copper and iron levels, but it was apparently reversed for zinc concentration. Multiple sexual partnerships had significant influence on zinc status. There also were significant relationships observed between body mass index (BMI) as well as certain socioeconomic factors, and mineral status of drug dependent subjects and non-drug dependent controls. A series of multiple linear regression analysis predicted mineral values for education, age and BMI. The group (drug dependent subject = 1, non-drug dependent control = 2) had a significant influence on these parameters. However, after controlling these factors, it was shown that illicit drug use significantly contributed to influence the serum mineral levels. CONCLUSION: Illicit drug use impairs serum mineral value causing an increase in copper and zinc and a decrease in iron. Lifestyle and nutritional status of drug dependent subjects influence serum mineral concentrations.

Acetyl-L-carnitine in the management of pain during methadone withdrawal syndrome

            (Janiri, Martinotti et al. 2009) Download

INTRODUCTION: This study was designed to determine the short-term effect of acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) on symptoms of withdrawal in opiate-dependent subjects and animals and, in particular, on pain, given the efficacy of ALC in other typologies of pain. The study consists of 2 branches: a clinical study and a preclinical one, both with a randomized placebo-controlled design. METHODS: Thirty subjects meeting clinical criteria for methadone dependence were consecutively recruited and treated with ALC 2 g/d or placebo for a 3-week detoxification period. Withdrawal symptoms and pain were evaluated through the Short Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome scale, and the Huskisson's analogue scale for pain. In the preclinical study, mice previously received a pretreatment (saline solution or morphine), and subsequently, each group was randomly divided in 4 subgroups that received a treatment of saline, methadone, ALC, or amitriptyline, respectively. Hot plate test and Writhing test were used to evaluate pain intensity. RESULTS: Average Short Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome total scores during the first 5 days of treatment resulted significantly higher in controls than in the ALC group (P < 0.05). Pain scores in the Huskisson's analogue scale were considerably lower in the group of patients taking ALC than in the control group after 1 week of ALC treatment until the end of the study. Results of the preclinical study show that the administration of methadone for 7 days in morphine-tolerant mice did not produce any modification of the pain threshold. By contrast, the 7-day coadministration of methadone and ALC in morphine-tolerant mice induced an analgesic effect evaluated 3 hours after the last injection. DISCUSSION: Acetyl-L-carnitine acted as an effective antihyperalgesic agent for relieving opiate-withdrawal hyperalgesia in animals and displayed clinical efficacy on other withdrawal symptoms such as muscular tension, muscular cramps, and insomnia. Considering its tolerability, the excellent side effect profile, the absence of significant interactions, and the lack of abuse potential, ALC can be considered as a useful pharmacological adjunct in the treatment of opiate withdrawal.

The relationship between opioid and sugar intake: review of evidence and clinical applications

            (Mysels and Sullivan 2010) Download

Opioid dependence poses significant public health risks arising from associated morbidity and mortality caused by accidents, infectious diseases, and social ramifications of crime and unemployment, among other complications. Opioid use, acute and chronic, is also associated with weight gain, glycemic dysregulation, and dental pathology. The literature supporting the connection between opiate use and development of preference for sweet tastes is reviewed, and further association with dental pathology, weight gain, and loss of glycemic control are considered. Additionally, the impact of sweet tastes on the endogenous opioid system, as pertaining to analgesia, is also discussed. The authors discuss the clinical implications in relation to the aforementioned conditions while treating the opiate-dependent patient.

Nicotinamide: a potential anti-addiction weapon

            (Namazi 2004) Download

Serum vitamin E, C and A status of the drug addicts undergoing detoxification: influence of drug habit, sexual practice and lifestyle factors

            (Nazrul Islam, Jahangir Hossain et al. 2001) Download

BACKGROUND: The study was carried out on the hypothesis that drug addicts would have reduced vitamin E, C and A status which could be influenced by drug habit, sexual practice and lifestyle factors. METHOD: Serum concentrations of Vitamin E, C and A of male drug addicts and cohort controls were analysed, and influence of drug habit, sexual practice and lifestyle factors of the addicts on the vitamin status was assessed. The study was conducted among 253 drug addicts who sought detoxification voluntarily during the period of June 1997 to July 1998 at the Central Drug Addiction Treatment Hospital, Dhaka, and 100 cohort control men. Research instruments were questionnaire and blood specimens. HPLC and spectrophotometric methods were used to determine the vitamin levels in sera of drug addicts. RESULTS: alpha-Tocopherol (12.60+/-3.73 compared with 16.3+/-3.37 micromol/l; t=8.6, P=0.05), ascorbic acid (21.59+/-10.5 compared with 38.3+/-13.62 micromol/l; t=10.93, P=0.003) and retinol (1.15+/-0.39 compared with 1.33+/-0.30 micromol/l; t=5.28, P=0.048) in the drug addicts were significantly low as compared to those in the cohort controls. Use of multiple illicit drugs for a longer period of time did result in reduced levels of these vitamins. A significant reduction in retinol concentration was noted among the multiple drug users (F(2,250)=3.23, P=0.041). Duration of addiction had a significant linear correlation with the level of reduction in retinol (F(2,250)=3.23, P=0.041) and alpha-tocopherol (F(2,250)=3.06, P=0.049). Apart from having a significant negative correlation between number of sexual partners and retinol level (F(3,247)=2.65, P=0.049), sexual practice did not have any influence on the vitamin status of the addicts. Occupation did have a significant effect on the ascorbic acid level (F(4,248)=2.46, P=0.046), but other socioeconomic factors like income, age etc did not influence the vitamin E, C and A levels. Body mass index had a positive linear correlation with the vitamins, but it was significant only with vitamin C (F(2,250)=7.06, P=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: These results could have important implications for providing an antioxidant therapy to drug addicts and thus rehabilitating them into normal life. Risk of HIV infection and transmission (if any) could be reduced or inhibited.

Oral glucose tolerance and hormonal response in heroin-dependent males

            (Reed and Ghodse 1973) Download

Tests on 12 heroin addicts showed that their response to a glucose load differed from that in normal controls. Though the fasting blood sugar was normal, the rise in blood glucose after a standard 50-g oral glucose tolerance test was delayed and the rise smaller than in the controls. The heroin addicts had high resting insulin levels and a delayed peak response to an oral glucose load, and their growth hormone response was also abnormal.

Altered HPA axis responsivity to metyrapone testing in methadone maintained former heroin addicts with ongoing cocaine addiction

            (Schluger, Borg et al. 2001) Download

Metyrapone testing, a provocation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis function, was performed in 39 in-patient subjects: 10 stable methadone-maintained former heroin addicts without ongoing drug or alcohol abuse or dependence (MM), eight methadone- maintained former heroin addicts without ongoing drug or alcohol abuse or dependence other than ongoing cocaine dependence (C-MM), and 21 normal volunteers (NV). Plasma adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) levels were determined in samples drawn at 9A.M., just before administration of 2.25 g metyrapone orally and 4 and 8 hours afterward. Following metyrapone, C-MM had levels of ACTH that were significantly higher than both MM (p < .05) and NV (p < .01); whereas, MM and NV had levels that were comparable. Area under the plasma ACTH curves yielded similar results. This study documents hyper-responsivity to removal of glucocorticoid negative feedback associated with cocaine addiction, even in the setting of methadone maintenance for heroin addiction, which here and previously has been shown to be associated with normalization of HPA axis function.

The dopamine dilemma: using stimulants and antipsychotics concurrently

            (Yanofski 2010) Download

Stimulant and antipsychotic medications are commonly used together without concern, despite their potentially opposing mechanisms. An examination of dopamine pathways and receptors suggests that concerns regarding interactions between these two classes are justified and relevant. Efficacy of concurrent use is reviewed for several indications, with a focus on comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and aggression. The risk of adverse reactions is examined. Complex dopamine mechanisms are considered to explain the dilemma, and general treatment guidelines for stimulant-antipsychotic concurrent use are discussed.

The Dopamine Dilemma-Part II: Could Stimulants Cause Tolerance, Dependence, and Paradoxical Decompensation?

            (Yanofski 2011) Download

In this commentary, the author calls to attention that stimulants are commonly prescribed to children for years without seeming regard to the lack of studies on efficacy and safety during long-term use. The author examines evidence for stimulants losing efficacy over time and provides multiple possible mechanisms. The potential for paradoxical decompensation, an iatrogenic worsening of symptoms over time, is considered and discussed. Recommendations for detecting and responding to possible stimulant tolerance and dependence are provided.


Croft, L. K., R. K. Davis, et al. (1973). "Letter: Ascorbic acid status of the drug addict patient." Am J Clin Nutr 26(10): 1042.

el-Nakah, A., O. Frank, et al. (1979). "A vitamin profile of heroin addiction." Am J Public Health 69(10): 1058-60.

Hossain, K. J., M. M. Kamal, et al. (2007). "Serum antioxidant micromineral (Cu, Zn, Fe) status of drug dependent subjects: Influence of illicit drugs and lifestyle." Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2: 12.

Janiri, L., G. Martinotti, et al. (2009). "Acetyl-L-carnitine in the management of pain during methadone withdrawal syndrome." Clin Neuropharmacol 32(1): 35-40.

Mysels, D. J. and M. A. Sullivan (2010). "The relationship between opioid and sugar intake: review of evidence and clinical applications." J Opioid Manag 6(6): 445-52.

Namazi, M. R. (2004). "Nicotinamide: a potential anti-addiction weapon." Med Hypotheses 62(5): 844-5.

Nazrul Islam, S. K., K. Jahangir Hossain, et al. (2001). "Serum vitamin E, C and A status of the drug addicts undergoing detoxification: influence of drug habit, sexual practice and lifestyle factors." Eur J Clin Nutr 55(11): 1022-7.

Reed, J. L. and A. H. Ghodse (1973). "Oral glucose tolerance and hormonal response in heroin-dependent males." Br Med J 2(5866): 582-5.

Schluger, J. H., L. Borg, et al. (2001). "Altered HPA axis responsivity to metyrapone testing in methadone maintained former heroin addicts with ongoing cocaine addiction." Neuropsychopharmacology 24(5): 568-75.

Yanofski, J. (2010). "The dopamine dilemma: using stimulants and antipsychotics concurrently." Psychiatry (Edgmont) 7(6): 18-23.

Yanofski, J. (2011). "The Dopamine Dilemma-Part II: Could Stimulants Cause Tolerance, Dependence, and Paradoxical Decompensation?" Innov Clin Neurosci 8(1): 47-53.