|Opioid antagonists block opioid receptors in the brain so endorphins are unable to exert their effects.
In 1990, our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. David Sinclair, discovered that the opioid antagonist naltrexone, when used correctly in the presence of drinking alcohol, decreased the craving for alcohol in alcoholics. Naltrexone has demonstrated a 78% success rate in helping patients abstain from alcohol or consume it at safe levels at long term follow-up. In 1989, Dr. Sinclair patented his "Method for Treating Alcohol Drinking Responses,” also known as the “Sinclair Method,” and in 1994, the FDA approved the use of naltrexone as a treatment for alcohol dependence. Since then, the “Sinclair Method” has been used by medical practices around the globe as an effective treatment for alcoholism.
Today, we are applying this same science to develop an opioid antagonist-based nasal spray for the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Patients suffering from BED typically exhibit a lack of control eating foods typically high in sugar, fat or salt, are preoccupied with eating these types of foods, and are able to override the feeling of fullness. When these patients eat foods with high levels of sugar, salt or fat, the opioidergic system is activated, which causes the firing of the neurons that release endorphins. The endorphins then bind to opioid receptors on other neurons and activate these opioid receptors, which reinforces the addictive behavior.
If you can block these opioid receptors, using an opioid antagonist for example, then you can block the effect these endorphins have each time these foods are eaten. Our goal is to produce such a treatment for BED and to employ the same science to develop treatments for other common addictions and related disorders.