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NMDA Receptor Modulators in the Treatment of Drug Addiction

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Author(s): Seven E. Tomek | Amber L. Lacrosse | Natali E. Nemirovsky | M. Foster Olive

Journal: Pharmaceuticals
ISSN 1424-8247

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 251;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: glutamate | N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor | glycine binding site | antagonist | partial agonist

ABSTRACT
Glutamate plays a pivotal role in drug addiction, and the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor subtype serves as a molecular target for several drugs of abuse. In this review, we will provide an overview of NMDA receptor structure and function, followed by a review of the mechanism of action, clinical efficacy, and side effect profile of NMDA receptor ligands that are currently in use or being explored for the treatment of drug addiction. These ligands include the NMDA receptor modulators memantine and acamprosate, as well as the partial NMDA agonist D-cycloserine. Data collected to date suggest that direct NMDA receptor modulators have relatively limited efficacy in the treatment of drug addiction, and that partial agonism of NMDA receptors may have some efficacy with regards to extinction learning during cue exposure therapy. However, the lack of consistency in results to date clearly indicates that additional studies are needed, as are studies examining novel ligands with indirect mechanisms for altering NMDA receptor function.
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