Medications against drugs: Development of medications to prevent and treat substance use disorders


Substance use disorder (SUD) is a significant public health concern. Unfortunately, there are few safe and effective medications to treat SUD and efficacy is suboptimal. There are important financial and scientific obstacles to develop new compounds, but recent advances in the discovery of new brain receptors and neurocircuits are offering opportunities to develop new pharmacotherapies. A systematic scientific approach to develop medications is required to demonstrate their safety and efficacy, bring it to market, and prescribe it to patients. The purpose of this manuscript is to provide a general overview of the challenges and opportunities in medications development for SUD, describe the phased approach of this development, the medications approved, and those that appear most promising.


medications development; substance use disorders; treatment; clinical trials


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