Best Life: MCAM blocks opioids fatal effects

Updated: Mar. 11, 2020 at 6:53 AM CDT
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SAN ANTONIO, Tex. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Opioids, mostly used as pain killers, are incredibly addictive. Although there are many kinds, fentanyl is the drug of choice of addicts.

It is 100 times more potent than morphine. Now, there’s a long-lasting treatment option called m-cam-that may offer hope to millions. It’s a discovery that one researcher calls the most exciting in his career.

Today, Valarie McDonald runs two sober living houses, but she used to be hooked on fentanyl, even ending up in jail.

“When I could, I would use it. And, we would take the patches and cut them up and chew on them,” McDonald described.

Opioids are hard to kick because the brain is tricked.

“The term is often used that they hijack the rewarding system in the brain and essentially take over,” Charles P. France, Ph. D, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology at UT Health San Antonio and a Robert A Welch Distinguished University Chair in chemistry said.

For years, Narcan, or Naloxone, has been the only overdose rescue drug.

Dr. France told Ivanhoe, “It rescues people from opioid overdoses if given promptly. That’s the good news. The bad news is it doesn’t last very long. Its duration is about 45 minutes to an hour.”

“I got Narcanned twice the night I overdosed,” McDonald said.

And then she walked right from the hospital to a motel and used again. Her sister had an ultimatum.

“She said, if you decide to get in that car, I’m taking your daughter from you … and I left,” McDonald said.

Researchers are desperate to find a longer-lasting drug.

“It’s real name is methocinnamox. We call it MCAM. The difference with MCAM compared to Naloxone is that once it binds to that place in the brain, it doesn’t unbind,” Dr. France explained.

Giving the addict a rest from the opioid high.

“A single injection of MCAM will rescue an individual from overdose and prevent them from overdosing, even with very large doses of opioids, for a week or longer. There is a desperate need for this drug,” he continued.

An opportunity to add another weapon for those fighting opioid addiction.

Researchers say they hope to have this drug in human clinical trials within the next 18 to 24 months.

Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Producer; Bruce Maniscalo, Videographer; Ken Ashe, Editor.

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