Chronic pain alters drug self-administration: implications for addiction and pain mechanisms

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2008 Oct;16(5):357-66. doi: 10.1037/a0013597.


This review article focuses on the impact that the presence of pain has on drug self-administration in rodents, and the potential for using self-administration to study both addiction and pain, as well as their interaction. The literature on the effects of noxious input to the brain on both spinal and supraspinal neuronal activity is reviewed as well as the evidence that human and rodent neurobiology is affected similarly by noxious stimulation. The convergence of peripheral input to somatosensory systems with limbic forebrain structures is briefly discussed in the context of how the activity of one system may influence activity within the other system. Finally, the literature on how pain influences drug-seeking behaviors in rodents is reviewed, with a final discussion of how these techniques might be able to contribute to the development of novel analgesic treatments that minimize addiction and tolerance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia, Patient-Controlled
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders*
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / pathology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Self Administration*
  • Spinal Cord / pathology


  • Analgesics, Opioid