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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2013 Apr;1282:107-18. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12007. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

Addiction and corticotropin-releasing hormone type 1 receptor antagonist medications.

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1
Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA. ccontore@intra.nida.nih.gov

Abstract

Derangements in corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) through its type 1 receptor (CRHR1) have been identified in many pathologic conditions. Preclinical models of addiction find that small-molecule antagonists of CRHR1 can limit induction, maintenance, and relapse to drugs of abuse. Neuropsychiatric clinical trials of CRHR1 antagonists have shown mixed efficacy; treatment of addictive disorders has not been established, but finding effective treatments for addictive disorders is critical. Establishing effectiveness for substance abuse treatment will require a different design approach than was used for depression and anxiety trials. Focusing on active versus passive outcome measures, such as resilience to external stressful stimuli, may provide signals in curbing craving and relapse. Study design should include measures of abstinence and drug exposure, but additional elements of stress prevention should also be incorporated. Agents that could provide preemptive protection from drug use and relapse are novel and untested. An understanding of the evolutionary significance of the stress system and preclinical models suggests that these agents may provide protection in this manner. Investigators designing future trials might refocus their understanding of addiction and treatment in this new direction.

PMID:
23398379
DOI:
10.1111/nyas.12007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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