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Nasal spray for gambling addicts to undergo trials

Finnish researchers are looking into a nasal spray that could treat those with gambling addiction, according to media reports.

Researchers at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) claim that the fast-acting spray can temporarily ease addiction by using Naxalone, an emergency treatment typically used for opiate overdoses.

Naxalone works to temporarily block the production of dopamine - the chemical in the brain associated with pleasure.

"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," said Hannu Alho, professor of addiction medicine at THL.

The nasal spray is set to undergo testing starting next week, with 130 volunteers to take part in the experiment over a period of three months.

Alho said researchers previously tried a pill containing a substance similar to Naxalone, but it was not efficient enough as it took at least an hour before it could be absorbed into the body.

“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."

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