Xanax (and can we extrapolate other benzos?) intercalates into DNA

Yes apparently it is absorbed into and changes DNA!! How delightful.

The abstract from this PDF file containing the study from The Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics is here:

Alprazolam Intercalates into DNA (p. 421-430)

Abstract
In vitro interaction of a benzodiazepine group of drugs Alprazolam (Alp), a hypnotic and tranquilizer, with DNA was studied by various methods. Absorption spectrophotometric study showed that Alp binds strongly with supercoiled pUC 19 DNA and the calculated binding constant is 8.245 × 103 M-1 in 10 mM Tris-Cl buffer, pH 7.4. Spectrofluorometric study showed that ethidium bromide induced DNA fluorescence intensity was reduced completely after addition of Alp. But Alp did not interfere with the interaction of Hoechst 33258, a DNA minor groove binder, with plasmid DNA. Circular dichroic spectroscopic study showed that with the gradual increase in Alp concentrations, both the positive and the negative peaks of DNA were gradually decreased and at higher concentrations of Alp (60 μM and 80 μM), the negative peaks became positive indicating the intercalation and the conformational change in the DNA. Binding of Alp with DNA increased the thermal stability of DNA by 6 °C with respect to the mock treated sample. Gel electrophoresis study of supercoiled pUC 19 DNA showed more compact structure as a result of Alp binding. Transmission electron microscopic observations also confirmed this compactness. Thus, our observations suggest the strong interaction of Alp with DNA, which may raise serious questions about the random uses of Alprazolam.

And again I’d like to suggest having not studied other benzodiazepines we can’t assume they don’t do the same thing.

I can’t even begin to imagine the possible horror stories of what this possibly implies as I know little about science, but anyone who knows anything about DNA knows this is exceedingly serious.

6 thoughts on “Xanax (and can we extrapolate other benzos?) intercalates into DNA

  1. Arianna: Sure, you’re right. Nevertheless, as long as there is no – reliable, ehem… – data from studies on humans, I’d definitely choose not to act guinea pig. I wouldn’t take it from there – but from here, which is from a point of view, some people may call “paranoid”.

    “Paranoia is just knowing all the facts.” -Burroughs. I’ve seen too much damage been done by these drugs. Damage, they weren’t supposed to do – according to the “experts”.

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  2. I just sent that link you have up there, to my friend, who wants to take ritalin so that he can focus on doing more things in his life. I just saw a TV show last night about using Ritalin as a study aid.

    The thing with the study you have posted here, is that it was a study on human beings being administered a drug.

    This is far different from this xanax study where DNA of bacteria is being mixed with xanax and the xanax is intercalating into the bacterial DNA. This xanax study is a structural study of the molecules involved and not a clinical study on actual human being or even mice.

    Best,
    Ari

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  3. Reminds me of a study showing Ritalin to mess with chromosomes – are any of the other stimulants ever been checked for this?? – and actually every single study, that has shown genetic/chromosomal differences in people labelled “schizophrenic”, or “bipolar”, or whatever. Seems to be the same sham as with the brain scans, that allegedly show the “illness” to cause brain shrinkage, while it is the drugs causing it. I doubt that any single one of the labelled individuals in these studies actually was psych-drug-naive.

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  4. Finally, what I used to do in science! Man, I have not seen or heard the words puc 19 in a loooooong time.

    I wouldn’t totally worry, just maybe concerned that this be followed up on.

    This journal is about a structural analysis of DNA and it may or may not have clinical significance.

    They are taking a naked plasmid DNA, mixing it with xanax, and finding out that it inerchalates with DNA.

    You don’t have any naked plasmid DNA in your cells, and as far as I know puc 19 will only grow in bacteria, not mammalian cells, and so I wouldn’t get too upset.

    I would say that based upon these findings, they should next test whether the addition of xanax, interchalates into the *genomic DNA* of a mammalian cell line or, even simpler, see if it interchelates with a mammalian genomic DNA prep.

    Then take it from there.

    Now, the other intercalating agent, the ethydium bromide, is used commonly in molecular biology, or at least was! Even though it interchelates with DNA, it is only a questionible low level carcinogen. It is creepy however, as if you get it on your body, your body will glow in the dark along with your DNA!

    Best,
    Ari

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  5. All I gotta say is holy crap! I know these are things we should know, but I can’t let myself dwell on this at all. Ditto what Jazz said.

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