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Science. 2012 Apr 13;336(6078):241-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1215070.

A memory retrieval-extinction procedure to prevent drug craving and relapse.

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  • 1National Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University, Beijing, China.

Abstract

Drug use and relapse involve learned associations between drug-associated environmental cues and drug effects. Extinction procedures in the clinic can suppress conditioned responses to drug cues, but the extinguished responses typically reemerge after exposure to the drug itself (reinstatement), the drug-associated environment (renewal), or the passage of time (spontaneous recovery). We describe a memory retrieval-extinction procedure that decreases conditioned drug effects and drug seeking in rat models of relapse, and drug craving in abstinent heroin addicts. In rats, daily retrieval of drug-associated memories 10 minutes or 1 hour but not 6 hours before extinction sessions attenuated drug-induced reinstatement, spontaneous recovery, and renewal of conditioned drug effects and drug seeking. In heroin addicts, retrieval of drug-associated memories 10 minutes before extinction sessions attenuated cue-induced heroin craving 1, 30, and 180 days later. The memory retrieval-extinction procedure is a promising nonpharmacological method for decreasing drug craving and relapse during abstinence.

PMID:
22499948
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3695463
Free PMC Article
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