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Psychopharmacology

, Volume 189, Issue 1, pp 1–16 | Cite as

Toward a model of drug relapse: an assessment of the validity of the reinstatement procedure

  • David H. Epstein
  • Kenzie L. Preston
  • Jane Stewart
  • Yavin Shaham
Review

Abstract

Background and rationale

The reinstatement model is widely used to study relapse to drug addiction. However, the model’s validity is open to question.

Objective

We assess the reinstatement model in terms of criterion and construct validity.

Research highlights and conclusions

We find that the reinstatement model has adequate criterion validity in the broad sense of the term, as evidenced by the fact that reinstatement in laboratory animals is induced by conditions reported to provoke relapse in humans. The model’s criterion validity in the narrower sense, as a medication screen, seems promising for relapse to heroin, nicotine, and alcohol. For relapse to cocaine, criterion validity has not yet been established primarily because clinical studies have examined medication’s effects on reductions in cocaine intake rather than relapse during abstinence. The model’s construct validity faces more substantial challenges and is yet to be established, but we argue that some of the criticisms of the model in this regard may have been overstated.

Keywords

Conditioned drug cues Drug priming Construct validity Incubation Criterion validity Reinstatement Relapse Review Stress 

Notes

Acknowledgments

D.E., K.P., and Y.S. receive their financial support from the Intramural Research Program of the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse; J.S. receives her financial support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. We thank Roy Wise and the reviewers for critical comments on earlier versions of this paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • David H. Epstein
    • 1
    • 4
  • Kenzie L. Preston
    • 1
  • Jane Stewart
    • 2
  • Yavin Shaham
    • 3
  1. 1.Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Research BranchIRP/NIDA/NIH/DHHSBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Department of PsychologyConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Behavioral Neuroscience BranchIRP/NIDA/NIH/DHHSBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Treatment Section, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics BranchIRP/NIDA/NIHBaltimoreUSA

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