Enzyme May Prove Effective In Treating Cocaine Overdose

By Paul Gaita 11/09/15

Research has found a potentially viable treatment for cocaine overdose.

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A new study has found that a long-acting enzyme may provide safe and effective treatment for cocaine overdose.

On October 29, the research was made public at the 2015 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando, Fla., suggesting that the enzyme E12-7FC-M3 has proven effective in metabolizing cocaine in the body without also producing dangerous side effects.

The study was conducted by professors from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky, who had found success in breaking down cocaine in the bloodstream with an enzyme of their design called CocH1. Their current research employed a new enzyme, E12-7Fc-MC, in tests involving mice and rats injected with cocaine.

The tests revealed that not only did E12-7Fc-M3 prove more effective in breaking down cocaine in the test animals, but also had a prolonged biological half-life of approximately 110 hours. By comparison, CocH1 had a half-life of roughly eight hours.

A single .25mg dose of E12-7Fc-M3 accelerated the breakdown of cocaine for at least 20 days, while 2.5mg completely eliminated 25 mg of cocaine in the test animals for at least seven days. “We envision that this therapy could eventually become a viable treatment option in emergency rooms for people who overdose on cocaine,” said study co-author Chang-Guo Zhan, Ph.D.

Statistics culled in 2008 by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that 1.9 million individuals reported using cocaine within a 30-day period, with 359,000 of those being crack cocaine users. A Drug Abuse Warning Report issued that same year indicated that of the approximately two million emergency room admissions caused by drug use, more than 482,000 were due to cocaine.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.