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What Is a Nicotine Vaccine?

Nicotine addiction is a very serious problem all over the world today. It does not matter what demographic you look at - smoking is such a prevalent habit worldwide, that people suffering from nicotine addiction can be found in all corners of the globe. The only way to permanently stop nicotine addiction is for the person to quit smoking, but it is common knowledge just how difficult it can be.

One way to deal with nicotine addiction is to use a nicotine vaccine. In order to understand how a nicotine vaccine works, one has to understand the underlying concept behind nicotine addiction. When one inhales smoke, nicotine goes to the brain. This gives a pleasurable sensation to the smoker, which is the source of the addiction. What a nicotine vaccine aims to do is to inhibit this pleasurable effect, with the idea of weaning a person off of his dependency on smoking.

How does a nicotine vaccine achieve this? Drug companies have found a way to bind nicotine to antibodies while in the bloodstream. When these two elements bind, the nicotine is stopped from entering the brain, hence inhibiting the pleasurable sensation as well. While that may be oversimplifying things, that is the general idea behind a nicotine vaccine.

Today, we have NicVAX, which is a nicotine vaccine undergoing Phase III of clinical trials. Its manufacturers have met success in four PhaseI/II studies and have shown that the drug is well tolerated by the patients. The drug has also been manufactured on a commercial scale as of late 2010, meaning that it should be out for general consumption in the near future.

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