Art and design

Books

Culture

Environment

Fashion

Film

Life and style

Money

Music

Politics

Science

Technology

Travel

Television

US news

World news

Nasal spray aimed at tackling gambling addiction to be trialled in Finland

The researchers are looking for up to 130 volunteers willto take part in the experiment.
The researchers are looking for up to 130 volunteers to take part in the experiment. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Could gambling addiction be treated with a nasal spray? A group of Finnish researchers are launching a study to find out.

The fast-working spray contains naloxone, which is commonly used as an emergency treatment for overdoses of opiates such as heroin, opium and morphine. It blocks the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure with a central role in addictions.

“The spray goes to the brain in a few minutes so it’s very useful for a gambler … if you crave gambling, just take the spray,” Hannu Alho, professor of addiction medicine at the Helsinki-based national institute for health and welfare, explained.

The researchers are looking for up to 130 volunteers to take part in the experiment, which Alho says is “the first of its kind globally to use nasal spray.” Half will use the treatment for three months, while the other half will be given a placebo.

A recent report found that 2.7% of Finns aged 15-74 suffered from some level of gambling problem, while a report last year by the UK’s Gambling Commission found that two million Britons were either problem gamblers or at risk of addiction.

Alho said a previous attempt to treat gambling addiction with a pill containing a substance similar to naloxone had shown benefits, but was inefficient as the pill takes at least one hour before it is absorbed.

In 2015 the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of naloxone kits which make it easy to deliver the formulation to people who have overdosed on opiates via a spray. The FDA research found that administering naloxone nasally delivered the same levels or higher of the drug as an intramuscular injection, and acted just as fast.

“Gambling is a very impulsive behaviour … the need to gamble starts right away,” Alho said. “For this reason we are seeking a medication with a quick effect … the nasal spray acts in just a few minutes.”

The experiment is to be launched next week and is expected to last for a year.

This article titled "Nasal spray aimed at tackling gambling addiction to be trialled in Finland" was written by Staff and agencies, for theguardian.com on Monday 8 January 2018 05.24pm

Science

How do you sex a fossil? | Elsa Panciroli

“It was a slit, like this,” Vinther held his cupped hands side by side and opened and closed them,… Read more

Can a DIY fertility test help you plan when to have a baby?

My sisters, aged 27 and 30, are seated at their computers poring over the slick websites of… Read more

Paw choice? Cats show right and left-hand preferences

Whether stalking down the stairs or tiptoeing into the litter box, cats have a preference for which… Read more

Mixing herbal remedies and conventional drugs 'could be harmful'

Herbal remedies such as St John’s wort, ginseng and ginkgo biloba could have harmful interactions… Read more

Starwatch: the moon and a pair of star clusters

The Moon approaches two star clusters on the evening of 26 January. Both clusters are located in… Read more

Georgetown in northern Queensland once part of North America – geologists

Geologists in northern Australia have made a discovery that suggests the area around Georgetown in… Read more

Hot or not? Bikram no more beneficial than any other yoga, says vascular study

While the popularity of practising yoga in sweltering rooms is booming around the world,… Read more

Remember Pioneer 10? Test your knowledge of space probe missions

Fifteen years ago today, scientists at Nasa received the final faint signals from Pioneer 10, the… Read more

Letter: Lord Quirk obituary

Randolph Quirk was a longstanding family friend. Whenever he and his wife, Jean, came to our house… Read more

Flushing out 'zombie cells' could help stave off Parkinson's, study suggests

In work that could open a new front in the war on Parkinson’s disease, and even ageing itself,… Read more