Neurology Central

SfN18: Can animal models offer an insight into human opioid addiction, withdrawal and relapse behaviors?

Three papers presented at SfN Neuroscience 2018 (3–7 November, San Diego, CA, USA) have analyzed the behaviors of rats in relation to opioid addiction, withdrawal and relapse. This research may offer insight into how humans behave in similar situations and may allow development of new treatment options for individuals with opioid addictions.

With over 2 million people in the USA addicted to opioids, a public health emergency has been declared.  “More effective preventions and treatments are desperately needed for managing the opioid overdose epidemic, which now claims the lives of more than 100 Americans every day,” commented Chris Evans (University of California, CA, USA).

Recent findings may help scientists understand why there are differences in susceptibility to opioid addiction and why certain individuals are at a higher risk of relapse than others following abstinence.

One team of researchers has investigated the potential links between sex, distress intolerance and opioid abuse. They reported that previous utilization of morphine increases vulnerability to opioid abuse in male rats but not in female rats.

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