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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Norepinephrine and stimulant addiction.

No pharmacotherapies are approved for stimulant use disorders, which are an important public health problem. Stimulants increase synaptic levels of the monoamines dopamine (DA), serotonin and norepinephrine (NE). Stimulant reward is attributable mostly to increased DA in the reward circuitry, although DA stimulation alone cannot explain the rewarding effects of stimulants. The noradrenergic system, which uses NE as the main chemical messenger, serves multiple brain functions including arousal, attention, mood, learning, memory and stress response. In pre-clinical models of addiction, NE is critically involved in mediating stimulant effects including sensitization, drug discrimination and reinstatement of drug seeking. In clinical studies, adrenergic blockers have shown promise as treatments for cocaine abuse and dependence, especially in patients experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. Disulfiram, which blocks NE synthesis, increased the number of cocaine-negative urines in five randomized clinical trials. Lofexidine, an alpha(2)-adrenergic agonist, reduces the craving induced by stress and drug cues in drug users. In addition, the NE transporter (NET) inhibitor atomoxetine attenuates some of d-amphetamine's subjective and physiological effects in humans. These findings warrant further studies evaluating noradrenergic medications as treatments for stimulant addiction.[1]


  1. Norepinephrine and stimulant addiction. Sofuoglu, M., Sewell, R.A. Addict. Biol (2009) [Pubmed]
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