Drug dependence: Neuropharmacology and management

P. N. Deslandes, D. M. Pache, R. D.E. Sewell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This overview has attempted to highlight the brain regions associated with reward, and the pathways and neurotransmitters responsible for communication between these regions. Work conducted in this field has shown that stimulants and opioids, despite interactions with different receptor types and different neurotransmitter reuptake transporters, appear to share a common action on brain reward pathways. Their effects on these pathways (the distinct brain regions making up the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system) are predominantly mediated through changes in dopamine neurotransmission, and compounds aimed at selectively modulating these effects may form the basis of drugs to treat addiction. Other transmitters such as GABA, acetylcholine and serotonin inevitably have a role to play in reward, although at present the exact nature of their effects remains unclear. Diverging from manipulating the CNS directly as a management strategy for dependence, it might be possible to exploit the immune system to prevent administered psychostimulants penetrating the brain, but antibody saturation and specificity are problematic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-895
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2002
Externally publishedYes


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