Basic research has led to the identification of several potential medications for drug addiction.
In addition to already approved medications for treatment of opiate addiction (e.g., methadone, buprenorphine), new approaches that target different aspects of addiction are also being developed. For example, the cannabinoid receptor system (CB1) is currently being targeted for medications to treat nicotine, alcohol and other drug addictions, as well as obesity. Drug metabolism can also be a factor in addiction susceptibility by altering the pharmacokinetics and reinforcing effects of drugs. Smokers who are poor metabolizers of nicotine smoke less and may be less vulnerable to addiction. Medications can be developed to take advantage of that quality. Finally, animal models of relapse have allowed testing of medications that inhibit triggers of drug seeking behavior, including stress. Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) antagonists are being explored as possible medications as they inhibit the stress response and the resultant drug seeking behavior.
As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both brain and behavior.