Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cocaine addiction: Phase-specific biology, treatment?

Date:
June 30, 2014
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Current pharmacotherapies for addiction follow the dictum 'one size fits all'. Medications are prescribed in the same way for all patients, regardless of whether they have just started experimenting with a drug or have an established drug habit. Even more troubling, there are no FDA-approved pharmacotherapies for some addictions, such as compulsive cocaine use.

Current pharmacotherapies for addiction follow the dictum "one size fits all." Medications are prescribed in the same way for all patients, regardless of whether they have just started experimenting with a drug or have an established drug habit. Even more troubling, there are no FDA-approved pharmacotherapies for some addictions, such as compulsive cocaine use. Perhaps testing drugs in ways that focus on particular phases of addiction or particular clinical features of addiction, such as a patient's level of impulsivity, might advance the development of drug treatments for cocaine addiction.

Addiction is characterized by a transition from strategic drug-seeking (i.e., where a decision is made to try a drug to generate a desired effect) to habitual drug-seeking (i.e., where the behavior is triggered by the availability of drugs, particularly in contexts associated with drug use). Habitual drug use is less dependent than strategic use on whether the person actually enjoys the effects of the drug or whether there are negative subjective effects or problems associated with taking the substance. The transition from strategic to habitual drug-seeking is associated with changes in the brain, where dopamine systems are involved in shifting the representation of drug-taking in the striatum region of the brain from the lower (ventral) part of the striatum, implicated in reward, to the higher (dorsolateral) striatum, implicated in habits.

Researchers now have identified the stages of this process that are sensitive to blockade of dopamine receptors, potential therapeutic targets, and the important role that impulsivity plays in this process. They report their results in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry.

They administered a dopamine receptor-blocking drug, α-flupenthixol, directly into the dorsolateral striatum of rats at different phases of addiction. They found that the rats transitioned from insensitivity to sensitivity to the drug's inhibitory effects on cocaine-seeking, but that this transition was also influenced by the inherent impulsivity of the rats.

Early in the addiction process, all rodents were insensitive to the drug's effects, but it did suppress drug-seeking in animals with long-standing cocaine self-administration.

They also found that highly impulsive animals made the transition from drug insensitivity to sensitivity more slowly than animals with low levels of impulsivity.

"The results of this study are important because they show that although both impulsive and non-impulsive rats developed cocaine-seeking habits, this was delayed in high impulsive rats," said first author Dr. Jennifer Murray, from University of Cambridge.

These data suggest that impulsivity does not simply promote compulsivity through the facilitation of habits, but rather that these are interacting independent processes. Murray added, "It is suggested that vulnerability to addiction conferred by impulsivity is less influenced by the propensity to develop drug-seeking habits and more by the inability of an individual to regain control over these habits that are rigidly and maladaptively established in the brain."

"The notion that particular brain mechanisms are engaged only at particular phases of the addiction process strikes me as an important insight that has yet to be harnessed in developing new medications for addiction treatment," said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "This study highlights that dopamine receptor blockers might play a role, but only at particular phases of the addiction process."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jennifer E. Murray, Ruth Dilleen, Yann Pelloux, Daina Economidou, Jeffrey W. Dalley, David Belin, Barry J. Everitt. Increased Impulsivity Retards the Transition to Dorsolateral Striatal Dopamine Control of Cocaine Seeking. Biological Psychiatry, 2014; 76 (1): 15 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.09.011

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Cocaine addiction: Phase-specific biology, treatment?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630103146.htm>.
Elsevier. (2014, June 30). Cocaine addiction: Phase-specific biology, treatment?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630103146.htm
Elsevier. "Cocaine addiction: Phase-specific biology, treatment?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630103146.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins