Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc. - Principal Investigators - The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

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Amy Hauck Newman, Ph.D., Senior Investigator


251 Bayview Blvd,
Room 01A840
Baltimore, MD 21224

NIDA Phone: (443) 740-2293

NIAAA Phone: (301) 435-9398

Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc.

Chief, Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology Section on-site page link

Postdoctoral training , Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

Internal Medicine – Residency training, Department of Internal Medicine, A. Gemelli Hospital, Catholic University of Rome

Ph.D. - Physiopathology of Nutrition and Metabolism, Catholic University of Rome

M.Sc. – Alcohol Addiction, University of Florence

M.D.  - Medical School, Catholic University of Rome


The mission of the joint NIAAA-NIDA Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology (CPN) is to contribute to a deeper understanding of possible pharmacological treatments for alcohol and drug use disorders. We conduct outpatient and inpatient clinical studies using a combination of state-of-the-art and novel biobehavioral and pharmacological procedures performed under well-controlled human laboratory conditions, in order to identify possible novel medications for addiction. This section is particularly interested in: 1) investigating  feeding-related pathways (e.g. ghrelin, GLP-1, insulin, hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis, oxytocin) as novel neuropharmacological targets for alcoholism; and 2) identifying biobehavioral mechanisms and markers that predict treatment outcomes of promising medications (e.g. GABAB agonists) for the treatment of alcoholism.

Selected Publications:
  1. L. Leggio, W.H. Zywiak, J.E. McGeary, S. Edwards, S.R. Fricchione, J.R. Shoaff, G. Addolorato, R.M. Swift and G. A. Kenna. A human laboratory pilot study with baclofen in alcoholic individuals. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 2013;103(4):784-91.

  2. G.A. Kenna, R.M. Swift, T. Hillemacher and L. Leggio. The relationship of appetitive, reproductive and posterior pituitary hormones to alcoholism and craving in humans. Neuropsychology Review 2012;22(3):211-28.

  3. L. Leggio, A. Ferrulli, A. Zambon, F. Caputo, G.A. Kenna, R.M. Swift and G. Addolorato. Baclofen promotes alcohol abstinence in alcohol dependent cirrhotic patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Addictive Behaviors 2012;37(4):561-4.

  4. L. Leggio, A. Ferrulli, S. Cardone, A. Nesci, A. Miceli, N. Malandrino, E. Capristo, B. Canestrelli, P. Monteleone, G.A. Kenna, R.M. Swift and G. Addolorato. Ghrelin system in alcohol-dependent subjects: role of plasma ghrelin levels in alcohol drinking and craving. Addiction Biology 2012;17(2):452-64.

  5. L. Leggio. Role of the ghrelin system in alcoholism: Acting on the growth hormone secretagogue receptor to treat alcohol-related diseases. Drug News & Perspective 2010;23(3):157-66.

  6. L. Leggio, L.A. Ray, G.A. Kenna and R.M. Swift. Blood glucose level, alcohol heavy drinking, and alcohol craving during treatment for alcohol dependence: results from the Combined Pharmacotherapies and Behavioral Interventions for Alcohol Dependence (COMBINE) Study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2009;33(9):1539-44.

  7. L. Leggio, A. Ferrulli, S. Cardone, N. Malandrino, A. Mirijello, C. D'Angelo, L. Vonghia, A. Miceli, E. Capristo, G.A. Kenna, G. Gasbarrini, R.M. Swift and G. Addolorato. Relationship between the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and alcohol craving in alcohol-dependent patients: a longitudinal study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2008;32(12):2047-53.

  8. L. Leggio, A. Ferrulli, N. Malandrino, A. Miceli, E. Capristo, G. Gasbarrini and G. Addolorato. Insulin but not insulin growth factor-1 correlates with craving in currently drinking alcohol-dependent patients. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2008;32(3):450-8.

  9. G. Addolorato, L. Leggio, A. Ferrulli, S. Cardone, L. Vonghia, A. Mirijello, L. Abenavoli, C. D'Angelo, F. Caputo, A. Zambon, P.S. Haber and G. Gasbarrini. Effectiveness and safety of baclofen for maintenance of alcohol abstinence in alcohol-dependent patients with liver cirrhosis: randomised, double-blind controlled study. Lancet. 2007;370(9603):1915-22.

  10. G. Addolorato, L. Leggio, L. Abenavoli, R. Agabio, F. Caputo, E. Capristo, G. Colombo, G.L. Gessa and G. Gasbarrini. Baclofen in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome: a comparative study vs diazepam. American Journal of Medicine 2006;119(3):276.e13-8.

About Dr. Leggio's...

Drug Design and Synthesis Section - Click for larger version
The CPN Team
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IRP Training Opportunities...

2009 Postbacs
Postdoc, Predoc, Postbac and Summer Student training opportunities available!

2009 Summer Students
Research & Training Program for Under-represented Populations

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