Chapter 1

Potential Use of Antidepressants as Therapies for Drug Use Disorders

Peter R. Kufahl, Piroska Barabas, Casey Halstengard and M. Foster Olive


The diseases of drug addiction and alcoholism are characterized by a transition from experimental and recreational use to uncontrolled and compulsive intake, often accompanied by chemical dependence. The primary therapeutic target of drug abuse is the persistent craving experienced by abstinent patients that precedes relapse to drug taking. Growing clinical and preclinical evidence indicates negative affect and dysphoria as important contributors to drug and alcohol craving. Due to the high comorbidity between drug use disorders and other psychological disorders, including depression and anxiety, there is an interest in the potential use of readily available antidepressant drugs as preventative treatments against drug and alcohol relapse. This chapter provides an overview of preclinical and clinical research investigating these indications, and explains the animal models used to obtain information about the treatment potential of various pharmaceutical compounds. Overviews of primary neurotransmitter targets and pharmacokinetic aspects of the therapeutic compounds are provided throughout the chapter.

Total Pages: 3-37 (35)

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