Drug abuse represents a considerable burden of disease and has enormous economic impacts on societies. Over the years, few medications have been developed for clinical use. Their utilization is endowed with several limitations, including partial efficacy or significant side effects. On the other hand, the successful advancement of these compounds provides an important proof of concept for the feasibility of drug development programs in addiction. In recent years, a wealth of information has been generated on the psychological mechanisms, genetic or epigenetic predisposing factors, and neurobiological adaptations induced by drug consumption that interact with each other to contribute to disease progression. It is now clear that addiction develops through phases, from initial recreational use to excessive consumption and compulsive drug seeking, with a shift from positive to negative reinforcement driving motivated behaviors. A greater understanding of these mechanisms has opened new vistas in drug development programs. Researchers' attention has been shifted from investigation of classical targets associated with reward to biological substrates responsible for negative reinforcement, impulse loss of control, and maladaptive mechanisms resulting from protracted drug use. From this research, several new biological targets for the development of innovative therapies have started to emerge. This chapter offers an overview of targets currently under scrutiny for the development of new medications for addiction. This work is not exhaustive but rather it provides a few examples of how this research has advanced in recent years by virtue of studies carried out in our laboratory.

Emerging targets for addiction neuropharmacology: From mechanisms to therapeutics

UBALDI, Massimo;CANNELLA, NAZZARENO;CICCOCIOPPO, Roberto
2016-01-01

Abstract

Drug abuse represents a considerable burden of disease and has enormous economic impacts on societies. Over the years, few medications have been developed for clinical use. Their utilization is endowed with several limitations, including partial efficacy or significant side effects. On the other hand, the successful advancement of these compounds provides an important proof of concept for the feasibility of drug development programs in addiction. In recent years, a wealth of information has been generated on the psychological mechanisms, genetic or epigenetic predisposing factors, and neurobiological adaptations induced by drug consumption that interact with each other to contribute to disease progression. It is now clear that addiction develops through phases, from initial recreational use to excessive consumption and compulsive drug seeking, with a shift from positive to negative reinforcement driving motivated behaviors. A greater understanding of these mechanisms has opened new vistas in drug development programs. Researchers' attention has been shifted from investigation of classical targets associated with reward to biological substrates responsible for negative reinforcement, impulse loss of control, and maladaptive mechanisms resulting from protracted drug use. From this research, several new biological targets for the development of innovative therapies have started to emerge. This chapter offers an overview of targets currently under scrutiny for the development of new medications for addiction. This work is not exhaustive but rather it provides a few examples of how this research has advanced in recent years by virtue of studies carried out in our laboratory.
2016
978-0-444-63716-1
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11581/391338
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