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A new vaccine may be capable of curing cocaine addiction, by using antibodies to deactivate the drug before it enters the brain of users.
A trial in America found that many users stopped taking cocaine, or reduced the amount they took, after having the vaccine.
Out of the 55 participants who completed the trial, 38% had enough blood antibodies to tackle their dependency, and 45% stopped taking cocaine altogether. Only 35% of a group given a dummy placebo gave up the drug.
The proportion of participants who reduced their cocaine use by half was greater among those successfully treated with the active vaccine.
The most frequent side-effect was hardening or tenderness of the skin where it had been injected. There were no serious adverse effects.
The research, led by Dr Bridget Martell, from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, is reported in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.
Copyright Press Association 2009