Regulatory Issues & Addiction

Addiction vs. Tolerance & Physical Dependence

It is critical to understand the meaning of addiction and not confuse it with tolerance and physical dependence (http://www.ampainsoc.org/advocacy/opioids2.htm)

  • Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease, with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving.
  • Physical dependence is a state of adaptation that is manifested by a drug class specific withdrawal syndrome that can be produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, decreasing blood level of the drug, and/or administration of an antagonist.
  • Tolerance is a state of adaptation in which exposure to a drug induces changes that result in a diminution of one or more of the drug's effects over time.