Luxury & Gaming

Can a nasal spray kill your gambling addiction? These researchers say yes...

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 5:21am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 7:24pm

A nasal spray containing a drug that stops people from overdosing on opiates may be able to stop gambling addictions, a team of researchers gave announced.

The spray contains naloxone, an emergency treatment for those overdosing on opiates such as heroin, opium and morphine that 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 National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, Finland, said.

Up to 130 volunteers will take part in the year-long experiment, which begins next week and is “the first of its kind globally to use nasal spray,” Alho said.

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Half will use the treatment for three months, and the other half will get a placebo.

Alho said a previous attempt to beat gambling addiction with a pill containing a substance similar to naloxone had benefits, but was not efficient enough as the pill takes at least one hour before it is absorbed.

“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.”