Can you vaccinate against substance abuse?

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2013 Aug;13(8):1093-7. doi: 10.1517/14712598.2013.791278. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


Vaccines are being developed against substance abuse and most progress has been made with anti-cocaine, nicotine and opiate vaccines, but new ones are being developed for methamphetamine and may be in humans within 18 - 24 months. These haptenated vaccines share a common problem in that only about one-third of those vaccinated get a sufficiently robust antibody titer to enable them to effectively block drug use. This problem is being addressed with better carrier proteins and new adjuvants beyond alum. This review provides details about these developing vaccines that act through pharmacokinetic rather than pharmacodynamics blockade. Due to this pharmacokinetic mechanism of keeping abused drugs in the bloodstream and not allowing them entry into the brain or other organs, these vaccines have very few side effects compared to other blockers used in addictions treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders / immunology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage*


  • Vaccines