With so many medical advances in recent years, some are wondering when the vaccine to combat drug addiction will appear on the market. The idea of anti-drug vaccines is certainly not new, and now researchers are starting to close in on these medications and bring some to clinical trials.
While a vaccine isn’t available today (not yet, anyway), researchers see it as a future solution for those who are dedicated to quitting and need help avoiding relapse. The theory is that if the sufferer no longer feels the effect of a substance, there is a much lower chance he or she would relapse.
The Science Behind a Drug Addiction Vaccine
An anti-drug vaccine would induce an immune response that blocks the target drug from entering the brain. The science here is if opioids, cocaine, or heroin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, the user would not receive any type of high, reward or craving relief from taking an addictive substance.
How a Vaccine Would Work
When treating drug addiction, medications like Naltrexone (Vivitrol) and Buprenorphine are used to help relieve withdrawal symptoms, decrease addiction cravings and block receptors in the brain that allow the user to get high.
A vaccine would work in similar ways by eliminating the buzz or high of a substance. While not a “cure” for addiction, a vaccine could serve as a means to better prevent relapse after using Vivitrol and Buprenorphine during treatment to overcome initial cravings and withdrawal.
Anti-Drug Vaccine Benefits
As clinical trials continue, experts and researchers are optimistic about vaccines that could help fight addiction to drugs like opioids, heroin, cocaine and even alcohol. That’s because vaccines would be able to provide benefits, such as:
- The decreased need to take daily medication, as addiction vaccines would work for months or years at a time
- The reduction of side effects like joint pain and anxiety that can be caused by medications taken every day to help recover from addiction
- The ability to stay sober longer
- Increased physical, mental and psychological health
Treatment at Footprints Beachside Recovery
While vaccines aren’t yet available, they may be a crucial approach for addiction treatments in the future. At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we’re constantly staying up to date on the latest in addiction treatment. If you’re ready to take a step toward a life without addiction, contact us to get started. At Footprints, we can offer an individualized approach to addiction treatment including traditional therapies, alternative therapies and relapse prevention.