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Sustained incentive value of heroin-related cues in short- and long-term abstinent heroin users


Preller, Katrin H; Wagner, M; Sulzbach, C; Hoenig, K; Neubauer, J; Franke, P E; Petrovsky, N; Frommann, I; Rehme, A K; Quednow, Boris B (2013). Sustained incentive value of heroin-related cues in short- and long-term abstinent heroin users. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 23(10):1270-1279.

Abstract

Models of addiction and addiction memory propose that drug-associated cues elicit incentive effects in drug users, which play an important role in maintenance of drug use and relapse. Incentive effects have been demonstrated for smoking and alcohol-related cues but evidence for heroin-related cues has been inconclusive. Furthermore, it is unknown whether appetitive effects of heroin-related cues persist after prolonged abstinence, although heroin addiction is known to have high relapse rates. Therefore, we investigated implicit and explicit valence of heroin-related cues in dependent users at different stages of abstinence using affective startle modulation. In Study I, 15 current heroin users were measured before and after detoxification. Correspondingly, 15 healthy control participants were tested twice at an interval of 14 days. In Study II, 14 long-term abstinent heroin users were additionally measured in a single session. Implicit processing of drug-related stimuli was assessed using affective startle modulation by pictures of heroin and smoking scenes. Explicit reactions were measured using ratings of valence and craving. In contrast to controls, heroin-dependent participants showed a clear reduction of startle response during heroin-related pictures (p<0.05). Detoxification did not significantly change their startle responses to heroin-cues. No difference between non-detoxified current and long-term abstinent heroin users was found in implicit reactions to heroin-cues, whereas explicit measures differed between both groups (all p<0.05). After detoxification and even after prolonged abstinence, heroin cues still exert implicit appetitive effects in heroin users. This implies that drug-induced adaptations of reward circuits are long-lasting, resulting in a highly stable addiction memory.

Abstract

Models of addiction and addiction memory propose that drug-associated cues elicit incentive effects in drug users, which play an important role in maintenance of drug use and relapse. Incentive effects have been demonstrated for smoking and alcohol-related cues but evidence for heroin-related cues has been inconclusive. Furthermore, it is unknown whether appetitive effects of heroin-related cues persist after prolonged abstinence, although heroin addiction is known to have high relapse rates. Therefore, we investigated implicit and explicit valence of heroin-related cues in dependent users at different stages of abstinence using affective startle modulation. In Study I, 15 current heroin users were measured before and after detoxification. Correspondingly, 15 healthy control participants were tested twice at an interval of 14 days. In Study II, 14 long-term abstinent heroin users were additionally measured in a single session. Implicit processing of drug-related stimuli was assessed using affective startle modulation by pictures of heroin and smoking scenes. Explicit reactions were measured using ratings of valence and craving. In contrast to controls, heroin-dependent participants showed a clear reduction of startle response during heroin-related pictures (p<0.05). Detoxification did not significantly change their startle responses to heroin-cues. No difference between non-detoxified current and long-term abstinent heroin users was found in implicit reactions to heroin-cues, whereas explicit measures differed between both groups (all p<0.05). After detoxification and even after prolonged abstinence, heroin cues still exert implicit appetitive effects in heroin users. This implies that drug-induced adaptations of reward circuits are long-lasting, resulting in a highly stable addiction memory.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:20 Dec 2012 08:58
Last Modified:16 Feb 2018 17:26
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0924-977X
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2012.11.007

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