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

      Fan, Hua-Ying; Sun, Li; Li, Xiao-xiao; Zhou, Shaobo; Liang, Jun-cheng; Yan, Ben-yong; Li, Yu; Deng, Yan-ping; Peking University; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (Mary Ann Liebert, 2014-07-10)
      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-pituitaryadrenal axis.