Substance abuse vaccines

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Oct:1141:257-69. doi: 10.1196/annals.1441.027.


Conventional substance-abuse treatments have only had limited success for drugs such as cocaine, nicotine, methamphetamine, and phencyclidine. New approaches, including vaccination to block the effects of these drugs on the brain, are in advanced stages of development. Although several potential mechanisms for the effects of antidrug vaccines have been suggested, the most straightforward and intuitive mechanism involves binding of the drug by antibodies in the bloodstream, thereby blocking entry and/or reducing the rate of entry of the drug into the central nervous system. The benefits of such antibodies on drug pharmacodynamics will be influenced by both the quantitative and the qualitative properties of the antibodies. The sum of these effects will determine the success of the clinical applications of antidrug vaccines in addiction medicine. This review will discuss these issues and present the current status of vaccine development for nicotine, cocaine, methamphetamine, phencyclidine, and morphine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / immunology
  • Antigen-Antibody Reactions
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / immunology
  • Illicit Drugs / pharmacokinetics
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunotherapy, Active*
  • Immunotoxins / immunology
  • Immunotoxins / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Vaccines / therapeutic use*


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunotoxins
  • Vaccines