May 27, 2020

Cortisol May Curb Drug Cravings

A study published July 28 found that administering cortisol – a stress hormone that occurs naturally in the body – reduced cravings in heroin addicts by 25 percent.

Researchers administered a dose of cortisol or a placebo to 29 addicted adults who were in a treatment program where they were being weaned off heroin. People who recieved cortisol reported less cravings, although the dose was most effective for people who were already recieving a low dose of heroin.

The stress hormone could be used to help wean people off heroin, or to prevent relapse in the future, study authors said.

“We plan studies to examine whether cortisol can help patients reduce their heroin dosage or remain abstinent from heroin for longer,” first author and co–lead investigator Marc Walter, PhD, chief physician at the Psychiatric University Clinics (UPK) Basel, told Medscape Medical News.

The researchers will also see whether the inhibitory effect of cortisol on addictive cravings might also ease addiction to nicotine, alcohol, or gambling.



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