iCAAD Rome English Program


Treating psychostimulants in a clinical and therapeutic setting

The treatment for cocaine use should recognize that drug addiction is a complex disease involving changes in the brain as well as a wide range of social, familial, and other environmental factors; therefore, treatment of cocaine addiction must address this broad context as well as any other co-occurring mental disorders that require additional behavioral or pharmacological interventions.  Presently, there are no medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat cocaine addiction, though researchers are exploring a variety of neurobiological targets. Past research has primarily focused on dopamine, but scientists have also found that cocaine use induces changes in the brain related to other neurotransmitters—including serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid, norepinephrine, and glutamate. In addition to treatments for addiction, researchers are developing medical interventions to address the acute emergencies that result from cocaine overdose. One approach being explored is the use of genetically engineered human enzymes involved in the breakdown of cocaine, which would counter the behavioral and toxic effects of a cocaine overdose. Currently, researchers are testing and rening these enzymes in animal research, with the ultimate goal of moving to clinical trial
Luigi Stella, Head of Unit of Alchology - ASL Napoli 3 Sud, University Federico II and University L. Vanvitelli


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