Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Impact of Substance Use Disorder Pharmacotherapy on Executive Function: A Narrative Review

Butler, Kevin and Le Foll, Bernard (2019) Impact of Substance Use Disorder Pharmacotherapy on Executive Function: A Narrative Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10. ISSN 1664-0640

Item Type: Article


Substance use disorders are chronic, relapsing, and harmful conditions characterized by executive dysfunction. While there are currently no approved pharmacotherapy options for stimulant and cannabis use disorders, there are several evidence-based options available to help reduce symptoms during detoxification and aid long-term cessation for those with tobacco, alcohol and opioid use disorders. While these medication options have shown clinical efficacy, less is known regarding their potential to enhance executive function. This narrative review aims to provide a brief overview of research that has investigated whether commonly used pharmacotherapies for these substance use disorders (nicotine, bupropion, varenicline, disulfiram, acamprosate, nalmefene, naltrexone, methadone, buprenorphine, and lofexidine) effect three core executive function components (working memory, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility). While pharmacotherapy-induced enhancement of executive function may improve cessation outcomes in dependent populations, there are limited and inconsistent findings regarding the effects of these medications on executive function. We discuss possible reasons for the mixed findings and suggest some future avenues of work that may enhance the understanding of addiction pharmacotherapy and cognitive training interventions and lead to improved patient outcomes.

13762.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (286kB) | Preview

More Information

Depositing User: Leah Maughan


Item ID: 13762
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1664-0640
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Kevin Butler: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2021 10:31
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2021 10:45


Author: Kevin Butler ORCID iD
Author: Bernard Le Foll

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item