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Effects of Jitai tablet, a traditional Chinese medicine, on plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol levels in heroin addicts during abstinence.

Author(s): Fan HY(1), Sun L, Li XX, Zhou SB, Liang JC, Yan BY, Li Y, Deng YP.

Affiliation(s): Author information: (1)1 Department of Clinical Pharmacology, National Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University , Beijing, China .

Publication date & source: 2014, J Altern Complement Med. , 20(7):527-34

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the changes in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol in heroin addicts given Jitai tablet treatment during abstinence. DESIGN: Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. SETTINGS/LOCATION: Drug Rehabilitation Bureau of Shanghai Police, China. PARTICIPANTS: 99 volunteers, including 69 heroin addicts and 30 healthy volunteers. INTERVENTIONS: 69 heroin addicts randomly divided into two groups: the Jitai tablet group, which comprised 34 heroin addicts given Jitai tablet treatment during abstinence, and the placebo group, which comprised 35 heroin addicts given placebo. A control group consisted of 30 sex- and age-matched healthy volunteers. OUTCOME MEASURES: ACTH and cortisol in plasma were measured in all groups at baseline and in the Jitai tablet and placebo groups on the third, seventh, and 14th days of abstinence. RESULTS: Levels of both ACTH (p<.01) and cortisol (p<.001) were significantly higher in heroin addicts at baseline than in the healthy volunteers. Jitai tablet treatment restored plasma cortisol levels to normal more rapidly than did placebo treatment (p<.05), but not ACTH levels. A positive correlation between ACTH and cortisol values at baseline (p<.01) was also found with withdrawal symptom scores and daily dosages of heroin. CONCLUSIONS: Heroin addicts could respond to Jitai tablets through changes in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.

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