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1.  Efficacy of Disulfiram and Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Cocaine-Dependent Outpatients 
Archives of general psychiatry  2004;61(3):264-272.
Disulfiram has emerged as a promising treatment for cocaine dependence, but it has not yet been evaluated in general populations of cocaine users.
To compare the effectiveness of disulfiram therapy with that of a placebo condition in reducing cocaine use and to compare the effectiveness of 2 active behavioral therapies—cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)—in reducing cocaine use.
Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-masked (for medication condition), factorial (2×2) trial with 4 treatment conditions: disulfiram plus CBT, disulfiram plus IPT, placebo plus CBT, and placebo plus IPT.
A community-based outpatient substance abuse treatment program.
A total of 121 individuals meeting the criteria for current cocaine dependence.
Patients received either disulfiram (250 mg/d) or placebo in identical capsules. Medication compliance was monitored using a riboflavin marker procedure. Both behavioral therapies (CBT and IPT) were manual guided and were delivered in individual sessions for 12 weeks.
Main Outcome Measures
Random regression analyses of self-reported frequency of cocaine use and results of urine toxicology screens.
Participants assigned to disulfiram reduced their cocaine use significantly more than those assigned to placebo, and those assigned to CBT reduced their cocaine use significantly more than those assigned to IPT (P<.01 for both). Findings were consistent across all study samples (eg, intention to treat, treatment initiators, and treatment completers). Benefits of disulfiram use and CBT were most pronounced for participants who were not alcohol dependent at baseline or who fully abstained from drinking alcohol during treatment. Adverse effects experienced by participants who received disulfiram were mild and were not considerably different from those experienced by participants who received placebo.
Disulfiram and CBT are effective therapies for general populations of cocaine-dependent individuals. Disulfiram seems to exert a direct effect on cocaine use rather than through reducing concurrent alcohol use.
PMCID: PMC3675448  PMID: 14993114
2.  A Mechanism for the Inhibition of Neural Progenitor Cell Proliferation by Cocaine 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(6):e117.
Prenatal exposure of the developing brain to cocaine causes morphological and behavioral abnormalities. Recent studies indicate that cocaine-induced proliferation inhibition and/or apoptosis in neural progenitor cells may play a pivotal role in causing these abnormalities. To understand the molecular mechanism through which cocaine inhibits cell proliferation in neural progenitors, we sought to identify the molecules that are responsible for mediating the effect of cocaine on cell cycle regulation.
Methods and Findings
Microarray analysis followed by quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR was used to screen cocaine-responsive and cell cycle-related genes in a neural progenitor cell line where cocaine exposure caused a robust anti-proliferative effect by interfering with the G1-to-S transition. Cyclin A2, among genes related to the G1-to-S cell cycle transition, was most strongly down-regulated by cocaine. Down-regulation of cyclin A was also found in cocaine-treated human primary neural and A2B5+ progenitor cells, as well as in rat fetal brains exposed to cocaine in utero. Reversing cyclin A down-regulation by gene transfer counteracted the proliferation inhibition caused by cocaine. Further, we found that cocaine-induced accumulation of reactive oxygen species, which involves N-oxidation of cocaine via cytochrome P450, promotes cyclin A down-regulation by causing an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response, as indicated by increased phosphorylation of eIF2α and expression of ATF4. In the developing rat brain, the P450 inhibitor cimetidine counteracted cocaine-induced inhibition of neural progenitor cell proliferation as well as down-regulation of cyclin A.
Our results demonstrate that down-regulation of cyclin A underlies cocaine-induced proliferation inhibition in neural progenitors. The down-regulation of cyclin A is initiated by N-oxidative metabolism of cocaine and consequent ER stress. Inhibition of cocaine N-oxidative metabolism by P450 inhibitors may provide a preventive strategy for counteracting the adverse effects of cocaine on fetal brain development.
Investigating the mechanism of cocaine's effect on fetal brain development, Chun-Ting Lee and colleagues find that down-regulation of cyclin A by a cocaine metabolite inhibits neural proliferation.
Editors' Summary
Every year, cocaine abuse by mothers during pregnancy exposes thousands of unborn infants (fetuses) to this powerful and addictive stimulant. Maternal cocaine abuse during early pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage; its use during late pregnancy slows the baby's growth and can trigger premature labor. Babies exposed to cocaine shortly before birth are often irritable and have disturbed sleep patterns. They can also be very sensitive to sound and touch and consequently hard to comfort. These problems usually resolve spontaneously within the first few weeks of life but some permanent birth defects are also associated with frequent cocaine abuse during pregnancy. In particular, babies exposed to cocaine before birth sometimes have small heads—an abnormality that generally indicates a small brain—and, although they usually have normal intelligence, the development of their thinking skills and language is often delayed, and they can have behavioral problems.
Why Was This Study Done?
Exposure to cocaine before birth clearly interferes with some aspects of brain development. More specifically, it reduces the number and position of neurons (the cells that transmit information in the form of electrical impulses around the body) within the brain. All neurons develop from neural progenitor cells, and previous research suggests that cocaine exposure before birth inhibits the proliferation of these cells in the developing brain. It would be useful to understand exactly how cocaine affects neural progenitor cells, because it might then be possible to prevent the drug's adverse effects on brain development. In this study, therefore, the researchers investigate the molecular mechanism that underlies cocaine's effect on neural progenitor cells.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
When the researchers investigated the effects of cocaine on AF5 cells (rat neural progenitor cells that grow indefinitely in the laboratory), they found that concentrations of cocaine similar to those measured in fetal brains after maternal drug exposure inhibited the proliferation of AF5 cells by blocking the “G1-to-S transition.” This is a stage that cells have to pass through between each round of cell division (the production of two daughter cells from one parent cell). Next, the researchers showed that cocaine-treated AF5 cells made much less cyclin A2, a protein that controls the G1-to-S transition, than untreated cells. Cocaine also decreased cyclin A2 levels in neural progenitor cells freshly isolated from human fetal brains and in fetal rat brains exposed to the drug while in their mother's womb. Treatment of AF5 cells with a cyclin A2 expression vector (a piece of DNA that directs the production of cyclin A2) counteracted the down-regulation of cyclin A2 and restored AF5 proliferation in the presence of cocaine. Other experiments indicate that the reduction of cyclin A2 by cocaine in AF5 cells involves the accumulation of “reactive oxygen species,” by-products of the breakdown of cocaine by a protein that is a member of a family of proteins called cytochrome P450. Finally, treatment of pregnant rats with cimetidine (which inhibits the action of cytochrome P450) counteracted both the inhibition of neural progenitor cell proliferation and the cyclin A2 down-regulation that cocaine exposure induced in the brains of their unborn pups.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the cocaine-induced inhibition of neural progenitor cell proliferation involves, at least in part, interfering with the production (that is, causing down-regulation) of cyclin A2. They also show that this down-regulation is induced by the breakdown of cocaine by cytochrome P450, and that in both a rat cell line and in fetal rats, the cytochrome P450 inhibitor cimetidine (a drug that is already used clinically for stomach problems) can block the adverse effects of cocaine on the proliferation of neural progenitor cells. These findings need to be confirmed in animals more closely related to people than rats, and the long-term effects of cimetidine need to be investigated, in particular its effects on cocaine toxicity. Nevertheless these results raise the possibility that giving cimetidine or other drugs with similar effects to pregnant women who are addicted to cocaine might prevent some of the harm that their drug habit does to their unborn children, although it is not clear whether there is a dosage of cimetidine that might be both safe and adequate for this purpose.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
A PLoS Medicine Perspective article by Steven Hyman further discusses this study
The US National Institute on Drug Abuse provides a fact sheet on cocaine (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Release provides information and advice to the public and professionals about the law and drugs, including information about cocaine
MedlinePlus also provides a list of links to information about cocaine (in English and Spanish)
The March of Dimes Foundation, a US nonprofit organization for the improvement of child health, provides information about illicit drug use during pregnancy (in English and Spanish)
The Organization of Teratology Information Specialists also provides a fact sheet on cocaine and pregnancy (in English, Spanish, and French)
PMCID: PMC2504032  PMID: 18593214
3.  Valproate treatment and cocaine cue reactivity in cocaine-dependent individuals 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2009;102(1-3):144-150.
Based on prior clinical trials indicating that γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) based anticonvulsant medications reduce drug craving in cocaine dependent study participants, we tested the effects of valproate treatment on cue-induced cocaine craving. Crack cocaine dependent individuals (N=20) were tested in a randomized, placebo-controlled, within-subjects, crossover study design. Valproate treatment was titrated up to 1500 mg/day by Day 6 of treatment, cue testing was completed on Day 8 of treatment, and all study participants underwent a washout period of 5 days between active and placebo medication treatment periods. Testing included both cocaine and neutral cue exposure sessions, presented in a random and counterbalanced order. Main effects of cue exposure were found for subjective ratings of “desire to use cocaine now”, the cocaine craving index, cocaine-like high, and cocaine withdrawal. Treatment interaction effects were found with “desire to use cocaine now”, which underwent a greater increase following cocaine cue exposure in the valproate condition. Main effects of medication treatment were found, in which lower blood pressure and heart rate, and higher plasma cortisol levels, were associated with valproate treatment. Valproate treatment was also associated, at a trend level, with higher pre-test cocaine craving levels. The results demonstrate that cocaine cue reactivity is a robust phenomena across two assessment sessions, but fail to support the use of valproate as a means of reducing spontaneous and cue-induced cocaine craving. The use of valproate as a treatment for cocaine dependence is not supported.
PMCID: PMC2712872  PMID: 19375250
valproate; cocaine; cue exposure; craving; cortisol
4.  Predictors of Treatment Outcome in Outpatient Cocaine and Alcohol Dependence Treatment 
We examined the ability of several baseline variables to predict treatment outcome in a pharmacotherapy trial that included 164 participants who were both cocaine- and alcohol-dependent and were selected for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Predictor variables included results from the baseline Addiction Severity Index (ASI), initial Urine Drug Screen results, cocaine and alcohol craving and cocaine and alcohol withdrawal symptoms at the start of treatment. Successful treatment was defined as four continuous weeks of self-reported cocaine abstinence verified by urine drug screens. In respect to demographic characteristics, there were no significant differences between patients who achieved four weeks of abstinence from cocaine and those who did not. Baseline variables that most consistently predicted cocaine abstinence included initial urine drug screen (UDS) results, the initial Cocaine Selective Severity Assessment (CSSA) scores, and initial self-reported cocaine use in past 30 days, whereas cocaine craving, cocaine composite scores, alcohol craving, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and alcohol composite scores did not. The results of this study suggest that cocaine dependence severity in general, and initial UDS results, the CSSA scores and frequency of recent cocaine use in particular, have a significant impact on treatment outcome in the treatment of cocaine-dependent patients with comorbid alcoholism. Initial UDS results and CSSA scores are very useful predictors of treatment outcome and could be used as stratifying variables in outpatient cocaine and alcohol medication trials.
PMCID: PMC3777818  PMID: 19219669
5.  The North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI): Profile of Participants in North America’s First Trial of Heroin-Assisted Treatment 
The North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI) is a randomized controlled trial evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) in the Canadian context. Our objective is to analyze the profile of the NAOMI participant cohort in the context of illicit opioid use in Canada and to evaluate its comparability with patient profiles of European HAT studies. Recruitment began in February 2005 and ended in March 2007. Inclusion criteria included opioid dependence, 5 or more years of opioid use, regular opioid injection, and at least two previous opiate addiction treatment attempts. Standardized assessment instruments such as the European Addiction Severity Index and the Maudsley Addiction Profile were employed. A total of 251 individuals were randomized from Vancouver, BC (192, 76.5%), and Montreal, Quebec (59, 23.5%); 38.5% were female, the mean age was 39.7 years (SD:8.6), and participants had injected drugs for 16.5 years (SD:9.9), on average. In the prior month, heroin was used a mean of 26.5 days (SD:7.4) and cocaine 16 days (SD;12.6). Vancouver had significantly more patients residing in unstable housing (88.5 vs. 22%; p < 0.001) and higher use of smoked crack cocaine (16.9 days vs. 2.3 days in the prior month; p < 0.001), while a significantly higher proportion of Montreal participants reported needle sharing in the prior 6 months (25% vs. 3.7%; p < 0.001). In many respects, the patient cohort was similar to the European trials; however, NAOMI had a higher proportion of female participants and participants residing in unstable housing. This study suggests that the NAOMI study successfully recruited participants with a profile indicated for HAT. It also raises concern about the high levels of crack cocaine use and social marginalization.
PMCID: PMC2587648  PMID: 18758964
Heroin dependence; Injection Drug Use; Substitution treatment; Cocaine abuse; Opioid-related disorders; Treatment refusals
6.  Cocaine Vaccine for the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence in Methadone Maintained Patients: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Efficacy Trial 
Archives of general psychiatry  2009;66(10):1116-1123.
Cocaine dependence, which affects 2.5 million Americans annually, has no FDA approved pharmacotherapy.
To evaluate the immunogenicity, safety, and efficacy of a novel cocaine vaccine to treat cocaine dependence.
24 week Phase IIb randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial with efficacy assessed during weeks 8 to 20 and follow-up to week 24.
Cocaine and opioid dependent persons recruited from 2003–2005 from greater New Haven, CT.
115 methadone maintained subjects (67% male, 87% Caucasian, aged 18–46) were randomized to vaccine or placebo and 82% completed the trial. Most smoked crack cocaine along with using marijuana (18%), alcohol (10%), and non-prescription opioids (44%).
Over 12 weeks 109/115 subjects received five vaccinations of placebo or succinylnorcocaine linked to cholera B protein.
Main Outcome Measure
Semi-quantitative urinary cocaine metabolite levels measured thrice weekly with positive cutoff of 300 ng/ml.
The 38% of vaccinated subjects who attained serum IgG anti-cocaine levels ≥ 43 µg/mL (high IgG) had significantly more cocaine-free urines than those with < 43 µg/mL (low IgG) and the placebo subjects during weeks 9 to 16 (45% vs 35%). The proportion of subjects having a 50% reduction in cocaine use was significantly greater in the high IgG than low IgG subjects (0.53 vs. 0.23) (P<0.04). The most common side effects were injection site induration and tenderness. There were no treatment related serious adverse events, withdrawals, or deaths.
Attaining high (≥ 43 µg/mL) IgG anti-cocaine antibody levels was associated with significantly reduced cocaine use, but only 38% of the vaccinated attained these IgG levels and they had only 2 months of adequate cocaine blockade. Thus, we need improved vaccines and boosters.
PMCID: PMC2878137  PMID: 19805702
7.  Efficacy of acupuncture for cocaine dependence: a systematic review & meta-analysis 
Acupuncture is a commonly used treatment option for the treatment of addictions such as alcohol, nicotine and drug dependence. We systematically reviewed and meta-analyzed the randomized controlled trials of acupuncture for the treatment of cocaine addiction.
Two reviewers independently searched 10 databases. Unpublished studies were sought using, the UK National Research Register and contacting content experts. Eligible studies enrolled patients with the diagnosis of cocaine dependence of any duration or severity randomly allocated to either acupuncture or sham or other control. We excluded studies of acupuncture methods and trials enrolling patients with polysubstance use or dependence. We abstracted data on study methodology and outcomes. We pooled the studies providing biochemical confirmation of cocaine abstinence.
Nine studies enrolling 1747 participants met inclusion criteria; 7 provided details for biochemical confirmation of cocaine abstinence. On average, trials lost 50% of enrolled participants (range 0–63%). The pooled odds ratio estimating the effect of acupuncture on cocaine abstinence at the last reported time-point was 0.76 (95% CI, 0.45 to 1.27, P = 0.30, I2 = 30%, Heterogeneity P = 0.19).
This systematic review and meta-analysis does not support the use of acupuncture for the treatment of cocaine dependence. However, most trials were hampered by large loss to follow up and the strength of the inference is consequently weakened.
PMCID: PMC1079914  PMID: 15771785
8.  A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial of Two Medication Adherence and Drug Use Interventions For HIV+ Crack Cocaine Users* 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2011;116(1-3):177-187.
Crack cocaine use undermines adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). This pilot randomized clinical trial tested the feasibility and efficacy of 2 interventions based on the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills model to improve HAART adherence and reduce crack cocaine problems.
Participants were 54 adults with crack cocaine use and HIV with <90% HAART adherence. Most participants were African-American (82%) heterosexual (59%), and crack cocaine dependent (92%). Average adherence was 58% in the past 2 weeks. Average viral loads (VL) were detectable (log VL 2.97). The interventions included 6 sessions of Motivational Interviewing plus feedback and skills building (MI+), or Video information plus debriefing (Video+) over 8 weeks. Primary outcomes were adherence by 14-day timeline follow-back and Addiction Severity Index (ASI) Drug Composite Scores at 3 and 6 months. Repeated measures ANOVA assessed main effects of the interventions and interactions by condition.
Significant increases in adherence and reductions in ASI Drug Composite Scores occurred in both conditions by 3 months and were maintained at 6 months, representing medium effect sizes. No between group differences were observed. No VL changes were observed in either group. Treatment credibility, retention, and satisfaction were high and not different by condition.
A counseling and a video intervention both improved adherence and drug problems durably among people with crack cocaine use and poor adherence in this pilot study. The interventions should be tested further among drug users with poor adherence. Video interventions may be feasible and scalable for people with HIV and drug use.
PMCID: PMC3102141  PMID: 21306837
HIV; Adherence; Crack Cocaine; Motivational Interviewing plus Feedback; Video Intervention
9.  Cocaine Use Reduction with Buprenorphine (CURB): Rationale, design, and methodology☆ 
Contemporary clinical trials  2012;34(2):196-204.
Effective medications to treat cocaine dependence have not been identified. Recent pharmacotherapy trials demonstrate the potential efficacy of buprenorphine (BUP) (alone or with naltrexone) for reducing cocaine use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network (CTN) launched the Cocaine Use Reduction with Buprenorphine (CURB) investigation to examine the safety and efficacy of sublingual BUP (as Suboxone®) in the presence of extended-release injectable naltrexone (XR-NTX, as Vivitrol®) for the treatment of cocaine dependence. This paper describes the design and rationale for this study.
This multi-site, double-blind, placebo-controlled study will randomize 300 participants across 11 sites. Participants must meet the DSM-IV criteria for cocaine dependence and past or current opioid dependence or abuse. Participants are inducted onto XR-NTX after self-reporting at least 7 days of abstinence from opioids and tolerating a naloxone challenge followed by oral naltrexone and are then randomly assigned to one of three medication conditions (4 mg BUP, 16 mg BUP, or placebo) for 8 weeks. Participants receive a second injection of XR-NTX 4 weeks after the initial injection, and follow-up visits are scheduled at 1 and 3 months post-treatment. Participants receive weekly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Recruitment commenced in September, 2011. Enrollment, active medication, and follow-up phases are ongoing, and recruitment is exceeding targeted enrollment rates.
This research using 2 medications will demonstrate whether BUP, administered in the presence of XR-NTX, reduces cocaine use in adults with cocaine dependence and opioid use disorders and will demonstrate if XR-NTX prevents development of physiologic dependence on BUP.
PMCID: PMC3760415  PMID: 23159524
Cocaine dependence; Buprenorphine; Naltrexone; Clinical Trials Network; Methods; Kappa antagonist
10.  Discriminative and Reinforcing Stimulus Effects of Nicotine, Cocaine, and Cocaine + Nicotine Combinations in Rhesus Monkeys 
Concurrent cigarette smoking and cocaine use is well documented. However, the behavioral pharmacology of cocaine and nicotine combinations is poorly understood, and there is a need for animal models to examine this form of polydrug abuse. The purpose of this study was two-fold: first to assess the effects of nicotine on the discriminative stimulus effects of cocaine, and second, to study self-administration of nicotine/cocaine combinations in a novel polydrug abuse model. In drug discrimination experiments, nicotine increased the discriminative stimulus effects of low cocaine doses in two of three monkeys, but nicotine did not substitute for cocaine in any monkey. Self-administration of cocaine and nicotine alone, and cocaine + nicotine combinations was studied under a second-order fixed ratio 2, variable ratio 16 (FR2[VR16:S]) schedule of reinforcement. Cocaine and nicotine alone were self-administered in a dose-dependent manner. The combination of marginally reinforcing doses of cocaine and nicotine increased drug self-administration behavior above levels observed with the same dose of either cocaine or nicotine alone. These findings indicate that nicotine may increase cocaine’s discriminative stimulus and reinforcing effects in rhesus monkeys, and illustrate the feasibility of combining cocaine and nicotine in a preclinical model of polydrug abuse. Further studies of the behavioral effects of nicotine + cocaine combinations will contribute to our understanding the pharmacology of dual nicotine and cocaine dependence, and will be useful for evaluation of new treatment medications.
PMCID: PMC3144152  PMID: 21480727
Cocaine; Nicotine; Polydrug abuse; Self-administration; Drug discrimination; Rhesus monkey
11.  A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial of acamprosate for the treatment of cocaine dependence 
Addictive behaviors  2010;36(3):217-221.
Acamprosate is a medication shown to be effective for the treatment of alcohol dependence. Although the exact mechanism of action of acamprosate is unknown, evidence suggests that it decreases excitatory amino acid activity by postsynaptic inhibition of the NMDA subtype of glutamate receptors. It is possible that the activity of acamprosate via modulating glutamatergic activity could also reduce craving for cocaine and impact abstinence in cocaine dependence. Therefore, we conducted a double-blind placebo-controlled pilot trial of acamprosate for the treatment of cocaine dependence.
Sixty male and female cocaine dependent patients were included in a nine-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. After a one-week baseline, patients were randomized to receive acamprosate 666 mg three times daily or identical placebo tablets for eight weeks. The primary outcome measure was cocaine use as determined by twice weekly urine drug screens.
Thirty-six patients (60%) completed the trial, with no significant between-group difference in treatment retention. Percent cocaine positive urine drug screens did not differ between the two groups. Acamprosate was no better than placebo in reducing cocaine craving, reducing cocaine withdrawal symptoms, or improving measures of drug use severity from the Addiction Severity Index. Adverse events in this trial were generally mild and were evenly distributed between the two groups.
Acamprosate was well tolerated but was no more efficacious than placebo in promoting abstinence from cocaine in cocaine dependent patients. Acamprosate does not appear to be a promising medication for the treatment of cocaine dependence.
PMCID: PMC3018663  PMID: 21112155
acamprosate; cocaine; clinical trial; placebo
12.  Modulation Of The Endo-Cannabinoid System: Therapeutic Potential Against Cocaine Dependence 
Dependence on cocaine is still a main unresolved medical and social concern, and in spite of research efforts, no pharmacological therapy against cocaine dependence is yet available. Recent studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system participates in specific stages and aspects of drug dependence in general, and some of this evidence suggests an involvement of the cannabinoid system in cocaine effects. For example, cocaine administration has been shown to alter brain endocannabinoid levels, and the endocannabinoid system has been involved in long-term modifications of brain processes that might play a role in neuro/behavioral effects of psychostimulant drugs like cocaine. Human studies show that marijuana dependence is frequently associated with cocaine dependence, and that the cannabinoid receptor CNR1 gene polymorphism might be related to cocaine addiction. This article will review the main papers in the field showing how a modulation of different components of the cannabinoid system might interact with some of the neurobiological/behavioral effects of cocaine related to its reinforcing effects, evaluated in preclinical models or in clinical settings. The goal of this review will be to provide insights into the complex picture of cocaine abuse and addiction, and to extrapolate from such endocannabinoid-cocaine interactions useful information to test the therapeutic potential of cannabinoid ligands and endocannabinoid-level enhancers against cocaine dependence for future preclinical/clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2134985  PMID: 17945506
cannabinoids; cocaine; addiction; behavior
13.  Error processing and gender-shared and -specific neural predictors of relapse in cocaine dependence 
Brain  2013;136(4):1231-1244.
Deficits in cognitive control are implicated in cocaine dependence. Previously, combining functional magnetic resonance imaging and a stop signal task, we demonstrated altered cognitive control in cocaine-dependent individuals. However, the clinical implications of these cross-sectional findings and, in particular, whether the changes were associated with relapse to drug use, were not clear. In a prospective study, we recruited 97 treatment-seeking individuals with cocaine dependence to perform the stop signal task during functional magnetic resonance imaging and participate in follow-up assessments for 3 months, during which time cocaine use was evaluated with timeline follow back and ascertained by urine toxicology tests. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were analysed using general linear models as implemented in Statistical Parametric Mapping 8, with the contrast ‘stop error greater than stop success trials’ to index error processing. Using voxelwise analysis with logistic and Cox regressions, we identified brain activations of error processing that predict relapse and time to relapse. In females, decreased error-related activations of the thalamus and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex predicted relapse and an earlier time to relapse. In males, decreased error-related activations of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and left insula predicted relapse and an earlier time to relapse. These regional activations were validated with data resampling and predicted relapse with an average area under the curve of 0.849 in receiver operating characteristic analyses. These findings provide direct evidence linking deficits in cognitive control to clinical outcome in a moderate-sized cohort of cocaine-dependent individuals. These results may provide a useful basis for future studies to examine how psychosocial factors interact with cognitive control to determine drug use and to evaluate the efficacy of pharmacological or behavioural treatment in remediating deficits of cognitive control in cocaine addicts.
PMCID: PMC3613717  PMID: 23485852
cocaine; relapse; cognitive control; error processing; gender difference
14.  Psychosocial functioning and cocaine use during treatment: Strength of relationship depends on type of urine-testing method 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2007;91(2-3):169-177.
Although improvement in psychosocial functioning is a common goal in substance-abuse treatment, the primary outcome measure in most cocaine trials is urinalysis-verified cocaine use. However, the relationship between cocaine use and psychosocial outcomes is not well documented. To investigate this relationship and identify the optimal urine-screen method, we retrospectively analyzed data from two 25-week randomized controlled trials of abstinence reinforcement (AR) in 368 cocaine/heroin users maintained on methadone. Cocaine use was measured thrice weekly by qualitative urinalysis, benzoylecgonine concentration (BE), and an estimate of New Uses of cocaine by application of an algorithm to BE. Social adjustment (SAS-SR), current diagnosis of cocaine dependence (DSM-IV criteria), and depression symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory) were determined at study exit. Cocaine use was significantly lower in AR groups than in controls. Across groups, in-treatment cocaine use was significantly associated with worse social adjustment, current cocaine dependence, and depression at exit. Significant differences were detected more frequently with New Uses than qualitative urinalysis or BE. Nevertheless, the amount of variance accounted for by the urine screens was typically <15%. Cocaine use during treatment, especially when measured with New Uses criteria, can predict psychosocial functioning, but cannot substitute for direct measures of psychosocial functioning.
PMCID: PMC2081155  PMID: 17624688
urinalysis; substance dependence; treatment; methadone maintenance; abstinence reinforcement; psychosocial function
15.  A Phase 1 Trial of pharmacologic interactions between transdermal selegiline and a 4-hour cocaine infusion 
The selective MAO-B inhibitor selegiline has been evaluated in clinical trials as a potential medication for the treatment of cocaine dependence. This study evaluated the safety of and pharmacologic interactions between 7 days of transdermal selegiline dosed with patches (Selegiline Transdermal System, STS) that deliver 6 mg/24 hours and 2.5 mg/kg of cocaine administered over 4 hours.
Twelve nondependent cocaine-experienced subjects received deuterium-labeled cocaine-d5 intravenously (IV) 0.5 mg/kg over 10 minutes followed by 2 mg/kg over 4 hours before and after one week of transdermal selegiline 6 mg/24 hours. Plasma and urine were collected for analysis of selegiline, cocaine, catecholamine and metabolite concentrations. Pharmacodynamic measures were obtained.
Selegiline did not change cocaine pharmacokinetic parameters. Selegiline administration increased phenylethylamine (PEA) urinary excretion and decreased urinary MHPG-sulfate concentration after cocaine when compared to cocaine alone. No serious adverse effects occurred with the combination of selegiline and cocaine, and cocaine-induced physiological effects were unchanged after selegiline. Only 1 peak subjective cocaine effects rating changed, and only a few subjective ratings decreased across time after selegiline.
No pharmacological interaction occurred between selegiline and a substantial dose of intravenous cocaine, suggesting the combination will be safe in pharmacotherapy trials. Selegiline produced few changes in subjective response to the cocaine challenge perhaps because of some psychoactive neurotransmitters changing in opposite directions.
PMCID: PMC2731040  PMID: 19646280
16.  Fenobam Sulfate Inhibits Cocaine-Taking and Cocaine-Seeking Behavior in Rats: Implications for Addiction Treatment in Humans 
Psychopharmacology  2013;229(2):253-265.
The metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGluR5) has been reported to be critically involved in drug reward and addiction. Because the mGluR5 negative allosteric modulators (NAMs) MPEP and MTEP significantly inhibit addictive-like behaviors of cocaine and other drugs of abuse in experimental animals, it has been suggested that mGluR5 NAMs may have translational potential for treatment of addiction in humans. However, neither MPEP nor MTEP have been evaluated in humans due to their off-target actions and rapid metabolism.
Herein, we evaluate a potential candidate for translational addiction research: a new sulfate salt formulation of fenobam, a selective mGluR5 NAM that has been investigated in humans.
In rats, fenobam sulfate had superior pharmacokinetics compared to the free base, with improved Cmax (maximal plasma concentration) and longer half life. Oral (p.o.) administration of fenobam sulfate (30 or 60 mg/kg) inhibited intravenous cocaine self-administration, cocaine-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior and cocaine-associated cue-induced cocaine-seeking behavior in rats. Fenobam sulfate also inhibited oral sucrose self-administration and sucrose-induced reinstatement of sucrose-seeking behavior, but had no effect on locomotion.
This study provides additional support for the role of mGluR5 signaling in cocaine addiction and suggests that fenobam sulfate may have translational potential in medication development for the treatment of cocaine addiction in humans.
PMCID: PMC4191672  PMID: 23615919
Cocaine; fenobam; self-administration; reinstatement; cocaine-seeking behavior; incubation of cocaine craving; mGluR5
17.  Butyrylcholinesterase Genetic Variants: Association with Cocaine Dependence and Related Phenotypes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80505.
The search for genetic vulnerability factors in cocaine dependence has focused on the role that neuroplasticity plays in addiction. However, like many other drugs, the ability of an individual to metabolize cocaine can also influence susceptibility to dependence. Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) metabolizes cocaine, and genetic variants of the BChE gene (BCHE) alter its catalytic activity. Therefore, we hypothesize that cocaine users with polymorphisms in BCHE can show diverse addictive behaviors due to differences in effective plasma concentrations of cocaine. Those polymorphisms might also influence users to prefer one of the two main preparations (crack or powder cocaine), despite having equal access to both. The present work investigates polymorphisms in BCHE and if those genetic variants constitute risk factors for cocaine dependence and for crack cocaine use.
A total of 1,436 individuals (698 cocaine-dependent patients and 738 controls) were genotyped for three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in BCHE: rs1803274, rs4263329, and rs4680662.
For rs4263329, a nominal difference was found between cases and controls. For rs1803274 (the functional SNP), a statistically significant difference was found between patients who used crack cocaine exclusively and those who used only powder cocaine (P = 0.027; OR = 4.36; 95% CI = 1.18–16.04). Allele frequencies and genotypes related to other markers did not differ between cases and controls or between the two cocaine subgroups.
Our findings suggest that the AA genotype of rs1803274 is a risk factor for crack cocaine use, which is more addictive than powder cocaine use. Further studies are needed in order to confirm this preliminary result and clarify the role of BCHE and its variants in cocaine dependence.
PMCID: PMC3842332  PMID: 24312228
18.  A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of topiramate for the treatment of comorbid cocaine and alcohol dependence 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2013;133(1):94-99.
Topiramate increases GABAergic activity and antagonizes the AMPA/kainate subtype of glutamate receptors. Through these mechanisms of action, topiramate may reduce alcohol and cocaine reward and may reduce alcohol and cocaine craving. Topiramate has been shown to reduce drinking in persons with alcohol dependence, and reduce relapse in stimulant-dependent patients. The current trial was intended to test the ability of topiramate to promote cocaine and alcohol abstinence among patients addicted to both drugs.
The study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 13-week trial involving 170 cocaine and alcohol dependent subjects. After achieving a period of cocaine and alcohol abstinence, subjects were randomized to topiramate, 300 mg daily, or identical placebo capsules. In addition, subjects received weekly individual psychotherapy. Primary outcome measures included self-reported alcohol and cocaine use, and thrice weekly urine drug screens. Secondary outcome measures included cocaine and alcohol craving, Addiction Severity Index results, cocaine withdrawal symptoms, and clinical global improvement ratings.
Topiramate was not better than placebo in reducing cocaine use on the a priori primary outcome measure, or in reducing alcohol use. Topiramate was not better than placebo in reducing cocaine craving. Topiramate-treated subjects, compared to placebo-treated subjects, were more likely to be retained in treatment and more likely to be abstinent from cocaine during the last three weeks of the trial. Subjects who entered treatment with more severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms responded better to topiramate.
Topiramate plus cognitive behavioral therapy may reduce cocaine use for some patients with comorbid cocaine and alcohol dependence.
PMCID: PMC3786029  PMID: 23810644
topiramate; cocaine; alcohol; clinical trial; placebo
19.  A controlled trial of the adjunct use of D-Cycloserine to facilitate cognitive behavioral therapy outcomes in a cocaine-dependent population 
Addictive Behaviors  2012;37(8):900-907.
Cocaine dependence is a chronically relapsing disorder for which its predominant behavioral therapies are associated with only partial efficacy. The goal of this study was to determine if the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor partial agonist and cognitive enhancer, D-Cycloserine (DCS), could boost the cocaine abstinence and treatment retention goals of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This study employed a placebo-controlled, randomized double-blind trial design of 44 cocaine-dependent men enrolled in a 4-week outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program (SATP) at the Atlanta Veteran’s Administration Medical Center. Subjects received 50 mg of DCS or placebo prior to four weekly sessions of a condensed version of a manual-based CBT for cocaine dependence. Cocaine abstinence and treatment retention measures represented primary outcome variables. Relative to a 12-step based treatment-as-usual, an under-dosed CBT was associated with significant improvements in drug abstinence and treatment retention at 4-weeks and for maintenance of drug abstinence after four more weeks of follow-up. The robust response to the under-dosed CBT was not enhanced by the adjunct administration of DCS at either the 4- or 8- week endpoints. This controlled clinical trial failed to demonstrate an ability of DCS to boost the relapse prevention or treatment retention goals of CBT.
PMCID: PMC3366369  PMID: 22578380
D-Cycloserine; addiction; cognitive behavioral therapy; cocaine; clinical trial; memory
20.  Optimum Methadone Compliance Testing 
Executive Summary
The objective of this analysis was to determine the diagnostic utility of oral fluid testing collected with the Intercept oral fluid collection device.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Opioids (opiates or narcotics) are a class of drugs derived from the opium poppy plant that typically relieve pain and produce a euphoric feeling. Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid used to treat opioid dependence and chronic pain. It prevents symptoms of opioid withdrawal, reduces opioid cravings and blocks the euphoric effects of short-acting opioids such as heroin and morphine. Opioid dependence is associated with harms including an increased risk of exposure to Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C as well as other health, social and psychological crises. The goal of methadone treatment is harm reduction. Treatment with methadone for opioid dependence is often a long-term therapy. The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons estimates that there are currently 250 physicians qualified to prescribe methadone, and 15,500 people in methadone maintenance programs across Ontario.
Drug testing is a clinical tool whose purpose is to provide objective meaningful information, which will reinforce positive behavioral changes in patients and guide further treatment needs. Such information includes knowledge of whether the patient is taking their methadone as prescribed and reducing or abstaining from using opioid and other drugs of abuse use. The results of drug testing can be used with behavior modification techniques (contingency management techniques) where positive reinforcements such as increased methadone take-home privileges, sustained employment or parole are granted for drug screens negative for opioid use, and negative reinforcement including loss of these privileges for drug screens positive for opioid used.
Body fluids including blood, oral fluid, often referred to as saliva, and urine may contain metabolites and the parent drug of both methadone and drugs of abuse and provide a means for drug testing. Compared with blood which has a widow of detection of several hours, urine has a wider window of detection, approximately 1 to 3 days, and is therefore considered more useful than blood for drug testing. Because of this, and the fact that obtaining a urine specimen is relatively easy, urine drug screening is considered the criterion measure (gold standard) for methadone maintenance monitoring. However, 2 main concerns exist with urine specimens: the possibility of sample tampering by the patient and the necessity for observed urine collection. Urine specimens may be tampered with in 3 ways: dilution, adulteration (contamination) with chemicals, and substitution (patient submits another persons urine specimen). To circumvent sample tampering the supervised collection of urine specimens is a common and recommended practice. However, it has been suggested that this practice may have negative effects including humiliation experienced by patient and staff, and may discourage patients from staying in treatment. Supervised urine specimen collection may also present an operational problem as staff must be available to provide same-sex supervision. Oral fluid testing has been proposed as a replacement for urine because it can be collected easily under direct supervision without infringement of privacy and reduces the likelihood of sample tampering. Generally, the results of oral fluid drug testing are similar to urine drug testing but there are some differences, such as lower concentrations of substances in oral fluid than urine, and some drugs remain detectable for longer periods of time in urine than oral fluid.
The Technology Being Reviewed
The Intercept Oral Specimen Collection Device (Ora-Sure Technologies, Bethlehem, PA) consists of an absorbent pad mounted on a plastic stick. The pad is coated with common salts. The absorbent pad is inserted into the mouth and placed between the cheek and gums for 3 minutes on average. The pad absorbs the oral fluid. After 3 minutes (range 2min-5 min) the collection device is removed from the mouth and the absorbent pad is placed in a small vial which contains 0.8mL of pH-balanced preservative, for transportation to a laboratory for analysis. It is recommended that the person undergoing oral fluid drug testing have nothing to eat or drink for a 10- minute period before the oral fluid specimen is collected. This will remove opportunity for adulteration. Likewise, it is recommended that the person be observed for the duration of the collection period to prevent adulteration of the specimen. An average of 0.4 mL of saliva can be collected. The specimen may be stored at 4C to 37C and tested within 21 days of collection (or within 6 weeks if frozen).
The oral fluid specimen must be analyzed in a laboratory setting. There is no point-of-care (POC) oral fluid test kit for drugs of abuse (other than for alcohol). In the laboratory the oral fluid is extracted from the vial after centrifugation and a screening test is completed to eliminate negative specimens. Similar to urinalysis, oral fluid specimens are analyzed first by enzyme immunoassay with positive specimens sent for confirmatory testing. Comparable cut-off values to urinalysis by enzyme immunoassay have been developed for oral fluids
Review Strategy
Research Question
What is the diagnostic utility of the Intercept oral specimen device?
Inclusion criteria:
Studies evaluating paired urine and oral fluid specimens from the same individual with the Intercept oral fluid collection device.
The population studied includes drug users.
Exclusion criteria:
Studies testing for marijuana (THC) only.
Sensitivity and Specificity of oral fluid testing compared to urinalysis for methadone (methadone metabolite), opiates, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.
Quality of the Body of Evidence
The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to evaluate the overall quality of the body of evidence (defined as 1 or more studies) supporting the research questions explored in this systematic review. A description of the GRADE system is reported in Appendix 1.
Summary of Findings
A total of 854 potential citations were retrieved. After reviewing titles and abstracts, 2 met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Two other relevant studies were found after corresponding with the author of the 2 studies retrieved from the literature search. Therefore a total of 4 published studies are included in this analysis. All 4 studies carried out by the same investigator meet the definition of Medical Advisory Secretariat level III (not a-randomized controlled trial with contemporaneous controls) study design. In each of the studies, paired urine and oral fluid specimens where obtained from drug users. Urine collection was not observed in the studies however, laboratory tests for pH and creatinine were used to determine the reliability of the specimen. Urine specimens thought to be diluted and unreliable were removed from the evaluation. Urinalysis was used as the criterion measurement for which to determine the sensitivity and specificity of oral fluid testing by the Intercept oral fluid device for opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine and marijuana. Alcohol was not tested in any of the 4 studies. From these 4 studies, the following conclusions were drawn:
The evidence indicates that oral fluid testing with the Intercept oral fluid device has better specificity than sensitivity for opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine and marijuana.
The sensitivity of oral fluids testing with the Intercept oral fluid device seems to be from best to worst: cocaine > benzodiazepines >opiates> marijuana.
The sensitivity and specificity for opiates of the Intercept oral fluid device ranges from 75 to 90% and 97- 100% respectively.
The consequences of opiate false-negatives by oral fluid testing with the Intercept oral fluid device need to be weighed against the disadvantages of urine testing, including invasion of privacy issues and adulteration and substitution of the urine specimen.
The window of detection is narrower for oral fluid drug testing than urinalysis and because of this oral fluid testing may best be applied in situations where there is suspected frequent drug use. When drug use is thought to be less frequent or remote, urinalysis may offer a wider (24-48 hours more than oral fluids) window of detection.
The narrow window of detection for oral fluid testing may mean more frequent testing is needed compared to urinalysis. This may increase the expense for drug testing in general.
POC oral fluid testing is not yet available and may limit the practical utility of this drug testing methodology. POC urinalysis by immunoassay is available.
The possible applications of oral fluid testing may include:
Because of its narrow window of detection compared to urinalysis oral fluid testing may best be used during periods of suspected frequent or recent drug use (within 24 hours of drug testing). This is not to say that oral fluid testing is superior to urinalysis during these time periods.
In situations where an observed urine specimen is difficult to obtain. This may include persons with “shy bladder syndrome” or with other urinary conditions limiting their ability to provide an observed urine specimen.
When the health of the patient would make urine testing unreliable (e,g., renal disease)
As an alternative drug testing method when urine specimen tampering practices are suspected to be affecting the reliability of the urinalysis test.
Possible limiting Factors to Diffusion of Oral Fluid Technology
No oral fluid POC test equivalent to onsite urine dips or POC analyzer reducing immediacy of results for patient care.
Currently, physicians get reimbursed directly for POC urinalysis. Oral fluid must be analyzed in a lab setting removing physician reimbursement, which is a source of program funding for many methadone clinics.
Small amount of oral fluid specimen obtained; repeat testing on same sample will be difficult.
Reliability of positive oral fluid methadone (parent drug) results may decrease because of possible contamination of oral cavity after ingestion of dose. Therefore high methadone levels may not be indicative of compliance with treatment. Oral fluid does not as yet test for methadone metabolite.
There currently is no licensed provincial laboratory that analyses oral fluid specimens.
2-ethylidene- 1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine
enzyme immunoassay
Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA),
Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Test (EMIT)
Gas chromatography
gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
High-performance liquid chromatography
Limit of Detection
Mass spectrometry
Methadone Maintenance Treatment
Oral fluid testing
Point of Care Testing
11-nor-delta-9-tetrhydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid
urine drug testing
PMCID: PMC3379523  PMID: 23074492
21.  The future potential for cocaine vaccines 
Expert opinion on biological therapy  2014;14(9):1271-1283.
Addiction to cocaine is a major problem around the world, but especially in developed countries where the combination of wealth and user demand has created terrible social problems. Although only some users become truly addicted, those who are often succumb to a downward spiral in their lives from which it is very difficult to escape. From the medical perspective, the lack of effective and safe, non-addictive therapeutics has instigated efforts to develop alternative approaches for treatment, including anticocaine vaccines designed to block cocaine’s pharmacodynamic effects.
Areas covered
This paper discusses the implications of cocaine pharmacokinetics for robust vaccine antibody responses, the results of human vaccine clinical trials, new developments in animal models for vaccine evaluation, alternative vaccine formulations and complementary therapy to enhance anticocaine effectiveness.
Expert opinion
Robust anti-cocaine antibody responses are required for benefit to cocaine abusers, but since any reasonably achievable antibody level can be overcome with higher drug doses, sufficient motivation to discontinue use is also essential so that the relative barrier to cocaine effects will be appropriate for each individual. Combining a vaccine with achievable levels of an enzyme to hydrolyze cocaine to inactive metabolites, however, may substantially increase the blockade and improve treatment outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4154474  PMID: 24835496
addiction; adjuvant; antibody; butyrylcholinesterase; cocaine; gene therapy; hydrolase; vaccine
22.  Levodopa Pharmacotherapy for Cocaine Dependence: Choosing the Optimal Behavioral Therapy Platform 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2007;94(1-3):142-150.
The dopamine precursor levodopa has shown some, albeit relatively weak, promise in treating cocaine dependence. This study sought to identify the most appropriate behavioral therapy platform for levodopa pharmacotherapy by evaluating its effect when administered in combination with behavioral platforms of varying intensities.
A total of 161 treatment-seeking cocaine dependent subjects received sustained release levodopa/carbidopa (400/100 mg bid, Sinemet) or placebo delivered in combination with Clinical Management (ClinMan); ClinMan+Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); or ClinMan+CBT+Voucher-Based Reinforcement Therapy (VBRT) in a 12-week randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind (for medication condition) trial. Medication compliance was monitored with riboflavin (100 mg/capsule) and the Medication Event Monitoring System. Protocol compliance was addressed in weekly, 10-minute nurse-delivered ClinMan sessions. Weekly, 1-hour CBT sessions focused on coping skills training. VBRT (with escalating reinforcer value) provided cash-valued vouchers contingent on cocaine-negative urine toxicology results. Urine benzoylecgonine assays collected thrice-weekly were analyzed by intention-to-treat criteria using generalized linear mixed models.
Levodopa main effects were found on all outcome measures of cocaine use. Contrasts testing the levodopa-placebo difference within each behavioral platform found reliable effects, favoring levodopa, only in the VBRT platform. Levodopa treatment with vouchers produced higher proportions of cocaine-negative urines and longer periods of consecutive abstinence compared to other treatment combinations.
This is the first study to find a significant treatment effect for levodopa and, in doing so, to demonstrate that the magnitude of this effect is dependent upon conditions of the behavioral therapy platform. The data support use of levodopa with abstinence-based reinforcement therapy as one efficacious combination in cocaine dependence disorder treatment.
PMCID: PMC2293271  PMID: 18164144
levodopa-carbidopa; cocaine treatment; contingency management; Voucher-Based Reinforcement Therapy; VBRT
23.  Cortical activation during cocaine use and extinction in rhesus monkeys 
Psychopharmacology  2009;208(2):191-199.
Acute re-exposure to cocaine or drug cues associated with cocaine use can elicit drug craving and relapse. Neuroimaging studies have begun to define neurobiological substrates underlying the acute effects of cocaine or cocaine cues in cocaine-dependent subjects.
The present study was the first to use functional brain imaging to document acute cocaine-induced changes in brain activity during active drug use in nonhuman primates.
Materials and methods
Positron emission tomography imaging with O15-labeled water was used to measure drug-induced changes in cerebral blood flow. The acute effects of cocaine administered noncontingently were characterized in four drug-naïve rhesus monkeys. The same subjects were trained to self-administer cocaine under a fixed ratio schedule during image acquisition. Subsequently, three subjects with an extensive history of cocaine use were trained to self-administer cocaine under a secondorder schedule. The same subjects also underwent extinction sessions during which saline was substituted for cocaine under the second-order schedule.
Noncontingent administration of cocaine in drugnaïve subjects induced robust activation of prefrontal cortex localized primarily to the dorsolateral regions. In contrast, the pattern of brain activation induced by self-administered cocaine differed qualitatively and included anterior cingulate cortex. Moreover, drug-associated stimuli during extinction also induced robust activation of prefrontal cortex.
The effects of cocaine and associated cues extend beyond the limbic system to engage brain areas involved in cognitive processes. The identification of neural circuits underlying the direct pharmacological and conditioned stimulus effects of cocaine may be highly relevant toward efforts to develop treatments for cocaine addiction.
PMCID: PMC2819208  PMID: 19924404
Cocaine; Cerebral blood flow; PET imaging; Self-administration; Extinction; Nonhuman primates
24.  Characteristics of Rural Crack and Powder Cocaine Users: Gender and Other Correlates 
Little is known about the relationship of gender with cocaine use in rural areas. This study describes these relationships among stimulant users residing in rural areas of Arkansas, Kentucky and Ohio.
Understanding characteristics of crack and powder cocaine users in rural areas may help inform prevention, education and treatment efforts to address rural stimulant use.
Participants were 690 stimulant users, including 274 (38.6%) females, residing in 9 rural counties. Cocaine use was measured by self-report of cocaine use, frequency of use, age of first use, and cocaine abuse/dependence. Powder cocaine use was reported by 49% of this sample of stimulant users and 59% reported using crack cocaine.
Differing use patterns emerged for female and male cocaine users in this rural sample; females began using alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine at later ages than males but there were no gender differences in current powder cocaine use. Females reported more frequent use of crack cocaine and more cocaine abuse/dependence than males, and in regression analyses, female crack cocaine users had 1.8 times greater odds of reporting frequent crack use than male crack users.
Conclusions and Scientific Significance
These findings suggest differing profiles and patterns of cocaine use for male and female users in rural areas, supporting previous findings in urban areas of gender-based vulnerability to negative consequences of cocaine use. Further research on cocain use in rural areas can provide insights into gender differences that can inform development and refinement of effective interventions in rural communities.
PMCID: PMC3756482  PMID: 21851207
cocaine; rural; substance abuse; gender
25.  Effects of gabapentin on cocaine self-administration, cocaine-triggered relapse and cocaine-enhanced nucleus accumbens dopamine in rats✩ 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2007;97(3):207-215.
Gabapentin is a γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) analogue, with GABAmimetic pharmacological properties. Gabapentin is used for the treatment of seizures, anxiety and neuropathic pain. It has been proposed that gabapentin may be useful in the treatment of cocaine dependence. However, clinical trials with gabapentin have shown conflicting results, while preclinical studies are sparse. In the present study, we investigated the effects of gabapentin on intravenous cocaine self-administration and cocaine-triggered reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior, as well as on cocaine-enhanced dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). We found that gabapentin (25–200 mg/kg, i.p., 30 min or 2 h prior to cocaine) failed to inhibit intravenous cocaine (0.5 mg/kg/infusion) self-administration under a fixed-ratio reinforcement schedule or cocaine-triggered reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior. In vivo microdialysis showed that the same doses of gabapentin produced a modest increase (∼50%, p < 0.05) in extracellular NAc GABA levels, but failed to alter either basal or cocaine-enhanced NAc DA. These data suggest that gabapentin is a weak GABA-mimic drug. At the doses tested, it has no effect in the addiction-related animal behavioral models here tested. This is in striking contrast to positive findings in the same animal models shown by another GABAmimetic – γ-vinyl GABA (see companion piece to present article).
PMCID: PMC2574799  PMID: 18065162
Gabapentin; Cocaine; Dopamine; GABA; Self-administration; Relapse

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