Flashcards in A - Biological Interventions Deck (12):
What are the two main types of drugs?
Agonists - mimic the action of a naturally occurring substance, a safer drug that is chemically similar to the addictive drug, acts as a substitute
Antagonist - acts against and blocks the action of the substance so that it no longer provides the rewarding feelings
Describe how the agonist methadone is used
Used to treat heroin addicts
Administer the drug in a liquid form, taken in the presence of a supervisor
Taking the drug orally means the opiate level in the brain rises slowly and does not produce the same high as an injection of heroin would
Effect of methadone is long lasting which means taking heroin whilst still under the influence of methadone has very little effect
Describe how the agonist nicotine replacement therapy works
Replace the nicotine obtained through smoking with a safer nicotine source
Available through gum, patches etc.
Describe how the antagonist naltrexone works
Blocks the effect of the neurochemicals that provide the rewarding feelings when the drug is taken
Believes if the drug has no rewarding effect, it would not be taken
Been used with alcohol and heroin addictio
When is methadone useful?
When weaning the addict altogether from drug dependency
What is a problem with methadone?
If it is stopped abruptly, it produces its own patterns of withdrawal (less severe than heroin)
Why is methadone sometimes effective but sometimes not?
It is effective as it works, especially at higher doses
However, it can be addictive too - this reduces its effectiveness as the addict simply becomes addicted to a difference substace
What do critics say about nicotine replacement therapy?
They argue that the smoker is still being exposed to nicotine which has harmful effects including causing cardiovascular changes - but this is less of a risk than carrying on smoking
What is a problem with nicotine replacement therapy?
Not always satisfying to a smoker compared to a cigarette as the nicotine is released more slowly and some smokers find a cigarette in their mouth desirable
Why is nicotine replacement therapy not effective?
It is not effective in dealing with the physical withdrawal symptoms which is the most likely reason for addicts relapsing
Describe the partial agonist varenicline
It attaches to the nicotine receptors but has slightly different effects from nicotine itself
It alleviates the craving and withdrawal experiences and reduces the rewarding and reinforcing effects of smoking