Nicotine and opioid co-dependence: Findings from bench research to clinical trials

Lilian Custodio, Samantha Malone, Michael T. Bardo, Jill R. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Concomitant use of tobacco and opioids represents a growing public health concern. In fact, the mortality rate due to smoking-related illness approaches 50% among SUD patients. Cumulative evidence demonstrates that the vulnerability to drugs of abuse is influenced by behavioral, environmental, and genetic factors. This review explores the contribution of genetics and neural mechanisms influencing nicotine and opioid reward, respiration, and antinociception, emphasizing the interaction of cholinergic and opioid receptor systems. Despite the substantial evidence demonstrating nicotine-opioid interactions within the brain and on behavior, the currently available pharmacotherapies targeting these systems have shown limited efficacy for smoking cessation on opioid-maintained smokers. Thus, further studies designed to identify novel targets modulating both nicotinic and opioid receptor systems may lead to more efficacious approaches for co-morbid nicotine dependence and opioid use disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104507
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the following NIH grants: R01DA044311 for JRT and R01DA044311-S1 for LC, JRT PI, R01DA0570 for MTB and JRT, and T32DA035200 for SM.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Clinical trials
  • Genetics
  • Neurobiology of addiction
  • Nicotine
  • Opioids
  • Polydrug abuse
  • Rodent models
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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