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What is the future of medication development?
Medication development has focused on the need to detoxify, treat withdrawal symptoms and facilitate early recovery. Currently available medications include substitutes where a ‘street’ drug is replaced with a ‘clean’ drug (like methadone); blockers that prevent the addictive substance from having any reinforcing effect (like naltrexone); or aversive therapies (like disulfiram) which make you feel sick if you take alcohol. However, because it is extremely difficult for addicted patients to remain compliant with medications, there is a strong need for improved medications that have less frequent dosing schedules to facilitate compliance. There is also a critical need for effective treatments for cocaine and methamphetamine overdoses as none are currently available. A more long-term goal is to develop medications that help keep abusive substances out of the brain to help prevent their addictive effects and consequences.
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