Pharmacotherapy of addictions

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2002 Sep;1(9):710-26. doi: 10.1038/nrd897.


Addiction to drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and alcohol, exacts great human and financial costs on society, but the development of pharmacotherapies for addiction has been largely neglected by the pharmaceutical industry. With advances in our understanding of the underlying biology of addictions now opening the door for the development of novel pharmacotherapies, it could be time for a reassessment of involvement in this increasingly important therapeutic area. Here, we summarize the current approved and implemented pharmacotherapeutic approaches to the treatment of addiction, and then highlight the most promising areas for future drug development from the perspective of our laboratory and our National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Research Center.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / drug therapy*
  • Buprenorphine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Methadone / therapeutic use*
  • Naltrexone / therapeutic use*
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / agonists*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Methadone