New Drug Combo For Cocaine Addicts

Cocaine dependence may be treatable by drug combo in the future

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Treating cocaine dependence is extremely tough. The science community is working towards making it a little easier with medication. A new trial has taken a step in the right direction.

A recent study tested a drug combo vs. a fake pill on cocaine-dependent adults. The drug combo kept twice as many participants clean for three weeks after the trial.

One of the drugs in the combo is already used to treat seizures and migraines.

"Seek help immediately for drug addiction."

John J. Mariani, MD, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and practicing physician in the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York, was the lead author of this study. For the study, 81 cocaine-dependent adults were split into two groups. The first group was given 12 weeks of extended-release mixed amphetamine salts (MAS-ER) and topiramate. The second group was given a placebo, or fake, dose.

Topiramate, brand name Topamax, is already on the market to treat certain types of seizures and migraines. It has also been used in previous trials to treat alcoholism and binge eating disorders.

The drug combination group was given MAS-ER for two weeks at a maximum dose of 60 mg per day and topiramate for six weeks at a maximum dose of 150 mg twice daily. All 81 participants were also given behavioral interventions.

Success of the drug combo test was measured by cocaine-free urine samples for three weeks. The MAS-ER/topiramate group had 33 percent cocaine-free urine samples, while the placebo group had 17 percent cocaine-free urine samples.

Researchers noted the most success occurred in the participants who used cocaine most frequently before the trial began.

Authors said, “The combination of MES-ER and topiramate appears promising as a treatment for cocaine dependence. The positive results observed in this study need to be replicated in a larger, multicenter clinical trial.”

Authors also pointed to drug combinations rather than just single drug therapy could be the right strategy for treating cocaine dependence.

This study was published in November in Biological Psychiatry. No financial information was given. No conflicts of interest were found.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 5, 2012
Last Updated:
December 10, 2012