Therapeutic vaccines for substance dependence

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2004 Feb;3(1):11-8. doi: 10.1586/14760584.3.1.11.


Immunotherapies are under development as a new approach to the treatment of substance dependence. The drugs of abuse currently being tested using this new approach are nicotine, cocaine, phencyclidine and methamphetamine. In laboratory animal models, a range of immunotherapies, including vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and catalytic antibodies, have been shown to reduce drug seeking. In human clinical trials, cocaine and nicotine vaccines have been shown to induce antibody titers while producing few side effects. Studies in humans determining how these vaccines interact in combination with their target drug are underway. Overall, immunotherapy offers a range of potential treatment options: drug treatment, as well as the treatment of overdose, prevention of brain or cardiac toxicity and fetal protection in pregnant drug abusers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / immunology
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / immunology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Phencyclidine Abuse / immunology
  • Phencyclidine Abuse / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Substance-Related Disorders / immunology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / immunology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control
  • Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Vaccines / immunology*


  • Vaccines