What is Guanfacine?
Guanfacine is a nootropic, sympatholytic, α2A receptor agonist. Guanfacine bears similarities to Clonidine. Guanfacine, however, presents with more gradual increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure upon abrupt cessation, whereas Clonidine does so rapidly.
How does Guanfacine work?
In monkeys, spatial memory was enhanced with Guanfacine, which was associated with greater regional cerebral blood-flow in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Animal testing also indicated a longer duration of antinociception than Clonidine. In clinical trials, Guanfacine has been observed to induce the secretion of growth hormone.
Further research has indicated a potential application in detoxification of recreational substances, including cocaine, nicotine, opiates, and alcohol in rats, while presenting with less side-effects than Clonidine. Guanfacine has been noted to exert effects that counter the typical symptoms associated with opioid withdrawals. More research is needed to draw definitive conclusions.
One mechanism through which Guanfacine is theorized to exert its effects is by the modulation of prefrontal networks, exerted via postsynaptic α-2A receptor stimulation on the dendritic spines of pyramidal cells in the prefrontal cortex, upon which cAMP signaling is inhibited, thereby closing potassium channels and strengthening physiological connections. This would also indicate potential applications in conditions where prefrontal function is compromised.
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