Ethical issues raised by proposals to treat addiction using deep brain stimulation

Carter, Adrian, Bell, Emily, Racine, Eric and Hall, Wayne (2011) Ethical issues raised by proposals to treat addiction using deep brain stimulation. Neuroethics, 4 2: 129-142. doi:10.1007/s12152-010-9091-3

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Author Carter, Adrian
Bell, Emily
Racine, Eric
Hall, Wayne
Title Ethical issues raised by proposals to treat addiction using deep brain stimulation
Journal name Neuroethics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1874-5490
Publication date 2011-01-01
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s12152-010-9091-3
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 4
Issue 2
Start page 129
End page 142
Total pages 14
Place of publication Dordrecht, Germany
Publisher Springer Verlag
Language eng
Abstract Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been proposed as a potential treatment of drug addiction on the basis of its effects on drug self-administration in animals and on addictive behaviours in some humans treated with DBS for other psychiatric or neurological conditions. DBS is seen as a more reversible intervention than ablative neurosurgery but it is nonetheless a treatment that carries significant risks. A review of preclinical and clinical evidence for the use of DBS to treat addiction suggests that more animal research is required to establish the safety and efficacy of the technology and to identify optimal treatment parameters before investigating its use in addicted persons. Severely addicted persons who try and fail to achieve abstinence may, however, be desperate enough to undergo such an invasive treatment if they believe that it will cure their addiction. History shows that the desperation for a "cure" of addiction can lead to the use of risky medical procedures before they have been rigorously tested. In the event that DBS is used in the treatment of addiction, we provide minimum ethical requirements for clinical trials of its use in the treatment of addiction. These include: restrictions of trials to severely intractable cases of addiction; independent oversight to ensure that patients have the capacity to consent and give that consent on the basis of a realistic appreciation of the potential benefits and risks of DBS; and rigorous assessments of the effectiveness and safety of this treatment compared to the best available treatments for addiction. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Keyword Addiction
Deep brain stimulation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 2 September, 2010.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
Official 2011 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 19 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 18 Feb 2011, 18:40:33 EST by Caroline Irle on behalf of UQ Centre for Clinical Research