Lightlake Therapeutics Inc (OTCBB:LLTP) has acquired US Patent 5,587,381, entitled: 'Method for terminating methadone maintenance through extinction of the opiate-taking responses', using an opioid antagonist as treatment. The Patent also covers treatment for addiction to other legally available opioids and to stimulant drugs such as Cocaine and Amphetamines.
Opiate addiction is a major worldwide health problem. Traditional treatments attempt to increase the addict's willpower to withstand the craving for opiates but do not decrease the craving itself. For a large percentage of addicts this is not sufficient; eventually they give in to the craving and resume using the drugs.
In the USA alone there are more than 2 million adults abusing prescription pain killers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, 5 million people taking cocaine regularly, 700,000 regular amphetamine users and thousands of methadone or buprenorphine dependent patients.
Despite the huge rising number of patients with dependency to both legal and illegal substances, there are few effective treatment options for physicians. In particular, methadone treatment represents a significant challenge, whereby patients commonly replace heroin addiction with lifelong methadone dependency, and still exhibit cravings and other opioid associated side-effects, and are unable to terminate the treatment.
The Patent 5,587,381 provides a safe and effective method for terminating methadone maintenance. After controlled withdrawal, the patient takes methadone while an opiate antagonists blocks positive reinforcement. As a result, the methadone-taking responses are extinguished and the craving for methadone is eliminated. An additional procedure is also provided to help guard against resumption of opiate use.
Learning from Dr. David Sinclair's pioneering work for alcohol addiction
Using the opioid antagonist naltrexone, Lightlake's Chief Science Officer Dr. David Sinclair, Ph.D., has demonstrated a 78% success rate for the treatment of alcohol addiction, through safely blocking the opioidergic system. There are over 70 more clinical trials that support this therapeutic methodology.
Addiction to opioids such as Oxycontin, cocaine, d-amphetamine and MDMA occurs through the opioidergic system, and therefore this same approach should treat a patient's addiction safely and effectively.
Successful treatment of addiction to amphetamine with naltrexone was recently demonstrated at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Dr. Roger Crystal, CEO of Lightlake Therapeutics, commented: 'We are very excited to leverage our capabilities into new therapeutic areas. The potential to expand our pipeline into this area is important progress for Lightlake Therapeutics."
Dr. Michael Sinclair, Chairman, added: "Opioid antagonists are a safe and effective way to treat addictive behaviors. We are currently addressing binge eating obesity through an opioid antagonist nasal spray, and we will be announcing further strategic developments in the future."