Clinical trials of N-acetylcysteine to help people recovering from drug abuse avoid relapse have demonstrated only moderate efficacy. New NIDA-supported research shows that while a low dose of the medication activates receptors associated with lowered drug-seeking behavior, a higher dose appears to activate receptors associated with increased drug-seeking behavior. The result suggests that a medication or combination of medications that stimulate the receptor GluR2/3 and block mGluR5 may work better than N-acetylcysteine alone.
The immune system has an extraordinary ability to recognize compounds foreign to the body and eliminate them. NIDA-sponsored scientists are working to harness this ability to create vaccines that will protect individuals against the psychogenic and addictive effects of abused drugs. This animation shows one of the most promising strategies, which has already yielded partial success in producing effective vaccines against nicotine, cocaine, and other drugs.
November 2011 In a new series of studies tracing the molecular events that occur in the brain as memories are formed and preserved, researchers find that certain epigenetic changes may promote vulnerability to relapse.
December 2010 Describes a study that examined the effectiveness of combining two therapies for drug abuse addiction: methadone treatment and therapeutic communities, two approaches that are rarely combined.
December 2010 Reports on an evaluation of the Chief Resident Immersion Training (CRIT) program to assess its effectiveness in improving knowledge, confidence, and preparedness to diagnose, manage, and teach about substance abuse.