Ondansetron and opiate craving. A novel pharmacological approach to addiction.
Sell LA., Cowen PJ., Robson PJ.
BACKGROUND: Pharmacological approaches to opiate addiction have for the most part been limited to a role in detoxification. A high percentage of patients who complete detoxification programmes relapse. METHOD: In the present study, we used a simple laboratory method to investigate suggestions from preclinical studies that 5-(hydroxytryptamine) HT3 receptor antagonists have a role in the treatment of addiction. RESULTS: We showed that addicts stably maintained on methadone experienced significant craving, dysphoria, and withdrawal-like symptoms when exposed to a video containing drug-related cues. The craving was not lessened by treatment with the 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, ondansetron (4 mg orally). CONCLUSION: Our current findings do not support a role for 5-HT3 receptor agonists in the reduction of craving in opiate addicts.