Drug therapy for the reduction of nicotine addiction includes nicotine replacement therapy which gradually releases a small amount of nicotine into the bloodstream. These products are available over the counter in several forms, such as patches, sprays, gum, and lozenges. In addition, there are two drugs that can be prescribed by doctors: varenicline (trade name Champix) and buproprion (trade name Zyban) which reduce the nicotine cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. Buproprion was originally developed as an antidepressant and works by inhibiting the re-uptake of dopamine. There is no drug approved in the UK for the treatment of pathological gambling. However, other available drugs, such as opioid antagonists and antidepressants, have been used to reduce the urge to gamble and the symptoms of depression or anxiety that might trigger a gambling spree. For example, Kim et al. (2002) found that naltrexone (an opioid antagonist that binds to the D2 dopamine pathway in the brain) was effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of gambling urges, as well as gambling itself. This is because it blocks the receptors in this ‘reward pathway’, meaning that gambling does not have the same reinforcing properties.

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