Volunteers are getting in line –
June 15, 2020 – Researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) hope to soon change that, thanks to a new $1.77M grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) that will allow them to explore whether a drug called clavulanic acid can help patients recover from cocaine use disorder. Clavulanic acid is part of an existing therapy known as Augmentin. Augmentin combines clavulanic acid with the penicillin-related antibiotic amoxicillin and is used for the treatment of bacterial infections. The idea that clavulanic acid could serve as a therapy for drug addiction emerged in 2014, from work carried out in the laboratory of Scott Rawls, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology at the Center for Substance Abuse Research at LKSOM. Dr. Rawls is a co-investigator on the new NIDA grant.
“Much of the research in my laboratory centers on an excitatory signaling molecule in the brain called glutamate, transmission of which is significantly altered by cocaine use,” Dr. Rawls said. “Our research has shown that increased glutamate transmission in the brain is associated with addictive-like behaviors.” Drugs that normalize glutamate transmission are thought to be critical to reducing cocaine craving and vulnerability to cocaine relapse.