Drug addiction is a major worldwide medical and social problem that continues to escalate. The addiction syndrome is remarkably similar between different drugs of abuse, and can be characterized as a chronic relapsing brain disorder with neurobiological changes that lead to a compulsion to take a drug with loss of control over drug intake. Presently used medications for the treatment of dependence disorders are based on drugs that are either agonists or antagonists of drugs of abuse, and have yielded only limited success. Immunopharmacotherapy is based on the generation or administration of antibodies that are capable of binding the targeted drug before it can reach the brain, whereas replacement strategies based on agonists or antagonists of these drugs generally cause many undesired side effects. A large amount of data has been gathered in recent years on the effects of active and passive immunization against cocaine, nicotine, PCP and methamphetamine in animal models, suggesting potential efficacy of these treatments in humans; and clinical trials are currently underway for vaccines against cocaine and nicotine.
Keywords: Immunopharmacotherapy, neurobiological, antagonists, methamphetamine
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