Researchers from the Aptuit Center for the Discovery and Development of Drugs, in Verona (Italy), have tested in rats and monkeys a new drug -which is in experimental phase-, with which they have managed to block a series of brain receptors in animals and decrease, as well, nicotine addiction.

It is a compound that acts by blocking a specific type of dopamine receptor in certain areas of the brain associated with the addiction that smokers have to tobacco. Scientists have included the study of this drug - called 'GSK598809' - in a research project in which they use brain imaging controls to analyze the brain mechanisms related to addiction, impulsivity and stress.

The drug works by blocking a specific type of dopamine receptor in certain areas of the brain associated with tobacco addiction

Other studies have already shown that the nicotine present in tobacco increases the emission of dopamine in certain regions of the brain, and experts associate this fact with the important addiction that causes the consumption of tobacco, and the anxiety caused by quitting smoking in the habitual smokers.

Dr. Manolo Mugnaini, who has led the research, explains that they have proven in animals and in preliminary studies with humans that the 'GSK598809' is capable of blocking the dopamine D3 receptors in the brain and thus helps to reduce the anxiety that generates the lack of nicotine. Using its method of taking brain images can also be observed the action of the drug in the brain.

According to the authors of the study - whose results have been published in 'Neuropsychopharmacology' -, their discovery could serve to develop an effective drug to help smokers to give up this habit so harmful to health.

Smoking Causes Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema (November 2019).