Posts Tagged Pharmacology

Fluoxetine — a.k.a., Prozac — is effective as an anti-viral, study suggests


ScienceDaily (July 27, 2012) — UCLA researchers have come across an unexpected potential use for fluoxetine — commonly known as Prozac — which shows promise as an antiviral agent. The discovery could provide another tool in treating human enteroviruses that sicken and kill people in the U.S. and around the world.

Human enteroviruses are members of a genus containing more than 100 distinct RNA viruses responsible for various life threatening infections, such as poliomyelitis and encephalitis. While immunization has all but eliminated the poliovirus, the archetype for the genus, no antiviral drugs currently exist for the treatment of enterovirus infections, which are often severe and potentially fatal. In view of its favorable pharmacokinetics and safety profile of fluoxetine — which is in a class of compounds typically used in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders and some personality disorders — the research team found that it warrants additional study as a potential antiviral agent for enterovirus infections.

Using molecular screening, the UCLA research team from the Department of Pediatrics, the California NanoSystems Institute and the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology found that fluoxetine was a potent inhibitor of coxsackievirus replication. This is one of the viruses that include polio and echovirus that is found in the gastrointestinal tract. Exposure to the virus causes other opportunistic infections and diseases.

“The discovery of unexpected antiviral activity of fluoxetine is scientifically very significant and draws our attention to previously overlooked potential targets of fluoxetine and other psychogenic drugs,” said Robert Damoiseaux, scientific director of the Molecular Screening Shared Resource at the California NanoSystems Institute. “Part of our follow-up work will be the discovery of these unconventional targets for fluoxetine and other drugs of the same class and how these targets intersect with the known targets of this drug class.”

Paul Krogstad, professor of pediatrics and molecular and medical pharmacology, added that understanding the mechanisms of action of fluoxetine and norfloxetine against coxsackieviruses “will add to our understanding of enterovirus replication and lead to assessment of their potential clinical utility for the future treatment of serious enterovirus infections.”

The research team found that fluoxetine did not interfere with either viral entry or translation of the viral genome. Instead, fluoxetine and norfluoxetine markedly reduced the production of viral RNA and protein.

The study was published on July 2 in the journal of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Study authors also include Jun Zuo, Kevin K. Quinn, Steve Kye, and Paige Cooper from the Department of Pediatrics. The study was supported by grants from the Today’s and Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund and the UCLA Department of Pediatrics Nanopediatrics Program.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of California – Los Angeles. The original article was written by Jennifer Marcus.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Zuo, K. K. Quinn, S. Kye, P. Cooper, R. Damoiseaux, P. Krogstad. Fluoxetine is a Potent Inhibitor of Coxsackievirus Replication. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 2012; DOI: 10.1128/AAC.00983-12

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

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Standard radiation therapy dose provides pain relief for painful heel spurs (plantar fasciitis)


ScienceDaily (July 26, 2012) — Patients with plantar fasciitis (painful bone heel spur) experience significantly less pain and improved quality of life following a standard dose of external beam radiation therapy, a common cancer treatment similar to receiving an X-ray, according to a randomized, cooperative group study that was published online July 25, 2012, in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (Red Journal), the official scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

Approximately 8-10 percent of the population has severe bone heel spurs, with the most common treatments for alleviating the pain being ice, heat, and various anti-inflammatory agents. Steroids and local anesthetics can be injected, and oral analgesic medications may be prescribed, but most of these methods have only provided short-term pain relief. The results of this study demonstrated that up to 80 percent of standard dose patients experienced complete pain relief, and pain relief remained constant or even improved for up to 64 percent of the study participants during the follow-up period of 48 weeks post-treatment.

“Severe plantar fasciitis is a chronic health issue, and it can be extremely painful — many of these men and women cannot walk or stand for a long time,” said Marcus Niewald, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist at Saarland University Medical Center in Homburg/Saar, Germany, and one of the study’s authors. “Radiation therapy has been used for its anti-inflammatory effect for more than 60 years. We are extremely encouraged by the results of our research because evidence of improved quality of life for patients is clearly evident with the standard dose regimen.”

This study was a prospective, randomized trial of a total of 66 patients, with evaluation every six weeks until 12-months post treatment. Four patients were secondarily excluded after the trial began; 29 patients received a standard dose regimen, and the remaining 33 patients received a low dose of radiation therapy. The standard dose patients were treated with a total dose of 6.0 Gy, applied in 6 single fractions of 1.0 Gy twice weekly on non-consecutive days. The low dose arm received 0.6 Gy, applied in 6 single fractions of 0.1 Gy twice weekly on non-consecutive days.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marcus Niewald, M. Heinrich Seegenschmiedt, Oliver Micke, Stefan Graeber, Ralf Muecke, Vera Schaefer, Christine Scheid, Jochen Fleckenstein, Norbert Licht, Christian Ruebe. Randomized, Multicenter Trial on the Effect of Radiation Therapy on Plantar Fasciitis (Painful Heel Spur) Comparing a Standard Dose With a Very Low Dose: Mature Results After 12 Months’ Follow-Up. International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2012.06.022

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

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Modeling of new enzymes helps develop therapies for cocaine abuse


ScienceDaily (July 26, 2012) — Researchers from the University of Kentucky have designed and discovered a series of highly efficient enzymes that effectively metabolize cocaine. These high-activity cocaine-metabolizing enzymes could potentially prevent cocaine from producing physiological effects, and could aid in the treatment of drug dependency.

The results of this study by Chang-Guo Zhan et al are published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.

The effectiveness of the enzymes’ work was evaluated through modeling cocaine pharmacokinetics, the study of the body’s action on administered external substances, such as cocaine, when the enzyme exists in the body. As there is no FDA-approved anti-cocaine medication, the medical and social consequences of cocaine abuse have made the development of anti-cocaine medication a high priority.

Administration of an enzyme to enhance cocaine metabolism has been recognized as a promising treatment strategy for overdose and abuse. A remarkable feature of the enzyme-based therapeutic approach is that one enzyme molecule can degrade many thousands of drug molecules per minute.

This pharmacokinetic modelling is a crucial step of enzyme-based therapy development for cocaine abuse. Furthermore, the general insights of the research should also be valuable for future development of an enzyme therapy for any addictive drug, as the general methodology of the modelling may be used to develop valuable models for evaluating the effectiveness of metabolic enzymes in detoxifying other drugs.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Public Library of Science.

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Journal Reference:

  1. Zheng F, Zhan C-G. Modeling of Pharmacokinetics of Cocaine in Human Reveals the Feasibility for Development of Enzyme Therapies for Drugs of Abuse. PLoS Comput Biol, 2012 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002610

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

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Ecstasy harms memory with one year of recreational use


ScienceDaily (July 25, 2012) — There has been significant debate in policy circles about whether governments have over-reacted to ecstasy by issuing warnings against its use and making it illegal. In the UK, David Nutt said ecstasy was less dangerous than horseback riding, which led to him being fired as the government’s chief drug advisor. Others have argued that ecstasy is dangerous if you use it a lot, but brief use is safe.

New research published online July 25 by the scientific journal Addiction, gives some of the first information available on the actual risk of using ecstasy. It shows that even in recreational amounts over a relatively short time period, ecstasy users risk specific memory impairments. Further, as the nature of the impairments may not be immediately obvious to the user, it is possible people wouldn’t get the signs that they are being damaged by drug use until it is too late.

According to the study, new ecstasy users who took ten or more ecstasy pills over their first year of use showed decreased function of their immediate and short-term memory compared with their pre-ecstasy performance. These findings are associated with damage of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that oversees memory function and navigation. Interestingly, hippocampal damage is one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease, resulting in memory loss and disorientation.

The study participants took an average of 32 pills each over the course of the year, or about two and a half pills per month. Some participants took as few as ten pills over the year and still showed signs of memory impairments.

Lead author Dr. Daniel Wagner says: “This study was designed to minimize the methodological limitations of earlier research, in which it was not possible to say whether cognitive impairments seen among ecstasy users were in place before drug use began. By measuring the cognitive function of people with no history of ecstasy use and, one year later, identifying those who had used ecstasy at least ten times and remeasuring their performance, we have been able to start isolating the precise cognitive effects of this drug.”

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Wiley, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

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