People who have tried the currently available medications often relapse when they are around the people, places or paraphernalia that they associate with opiate use.
Lorcaserin, prescribed for weight loss, alters the serotonin system by changing chemical signals that affect satiety, the sensation of fullness. Serotonin regulates the brain circuitry involved in drug reward and cue reactivity, particularly though activating serotonin 2C receptors.
The researchers trained rats to self-administer oxycodone while exposed to specific lights and sounds that create a drug-taking environment. Once the rats were used to regularly consuming oxycodone, they went through a period where no oxycodone was available to them. The researchers then gave lorcaserin to some of the rats while others were given a placebo and placed them in the drug-associated environment. At this point, oxycodone was again made available to the rats.