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Attitudes Toward Treating Addiction With Deep Brain Stimulation

Published:March 15, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brs.2016.03.009
      Addiction is a growing public health crisis for the United States, and current treatment modalities remain inadequate. From 2001 to 2014, there was nearly a 3-fold increase in deaths from drug overdose, including a 6-fold increase from heroin alone [
      • National Institute on Drug Abuse
      Overdose Death Rates.
      ]. Traditional pharmacologic and behavioral therapies fail to achieve abstinence for the majority of patients with addiction, necessitating a more efficacious treatment modality [
      • Spanagel R.
      • Vengeliene V.
      New pharmacological treatment strategies for relapse prevention.
      ]. Recently, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has emerged as a very promising option for addiction given its safety, reversibility, and titratability. It has been reported that stimulation of areas such as the nucleus accumbens can disrupt addictive behavior [
      • Halpern C.H.
      • Tekriwal A.
      • Santollo J.
      • Keating J.G.
      • Wolf J.A.
      • Daniels D.
      • et al.
      Amelioration of binge eating by nucleus accumbens shell deep brain stimulation in mice involves D2 receptor modulation.
      ,
      • Creed M.
      • Pascoli V.J.
      • Luscher C.
      Addiction therapy. Refining deep brain stimulation to emulate optogenetic treatment of synaptic pathology.
      ]. Moreover, our recent study found if DBS induces abstinence in 49% of heroin addicted subjects, it would be more cost-effective than methadone maintenance treatment, the current standard of care [
      • Stephen J.H.
      • Halpern C.H.
      • Barrios C.J.
      • Balmuri U.
      • Pisapia J.M.
      • Wolf J.A.
      • et al.
      Deep brain stimulation compared with methadone maintenance for the treatment of heroin dependence: a threshold and cost-effectiveness analysis.
      ].
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