Drug discovery for the treatment of substance use disorders: novel targets, repurposing, and the need for new paradigms

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HIGHLIGHTSDrug addiction treatment medications are limited in both efficacy and number.The understanding neuroscience of addiction may help to identify novel targets.New research paradigms are needed to predict efficacy and improve tolerability.Drug addiction treatment medications available nowadays are limited in both efficacy and number.The increased understanding of drug addiction circuitries leads the scientific community to look for better molecules and targets for detoxification and relapse prevention.This review focus on known targets (e.g., metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 and GABAB receptor) and on novel potential treatment acting on oxytocin system, which interacts with diverse neurotransmitters, has proved successful in both preclinical and clinical studies on ethanol, cocaine and methamphetamine.A crucial issue is the identification of new investigational paradigms, which may help to predict treatment efficacy and improve effectiveness.

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