National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program,
National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD – USA
Cocaine addiction continues to be an important public health problem in the United States and other countries. Acute cocaine produces potent rewarding and psychostimulant effects primarily by blocking dopamine (DA) transporters (DAT) in the brain’s reward system – the mesocorticolimbic DA system. However, repeated use of cocaine leads to addiction, persistent craving and a high risk of relapse.
To date, there are no proven pharmacotherapies for cocaine addiction. Recent progress in the neurobiology of drug dependence in preclinical animal models has lead to the discovery of various novel compounds that appear to be promising for the treatment of drug addiction.