Spinal-Cord Medication Works for Cocaine Addiction

Researchers were surprised to find how effective the drug baclofen, commonly used to treat spasticity, has been in helping individuals overcome cocaine addictions, the Medical Post reported Jan. 6.

The results of a random, double-blind study involving 70 people addicted to cocaine found that baclofen stops the release of dopamine in the brain. In doing so, the drug reduces the “high” associated with cocaine use.

The drug is particularly effective for chronic, heavy users of crack cocaine.

“I was surprised by the results of our study,” said principal investigator Steve Shoptaw, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of California Neuropsychiatric Institute.

The study’s findings were so impressive that researchers had an independent analysis of the research done by the Biostatistics Group at Stanford University Medical Center.

In March, an eight-week clinical trial will begin in eight research centers throughout the U.S. Shoptaw said if the trial supports the study’s findings, “I think that would generate a great deal of excitement in addiction medicine.”

Source: published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Reported in Medical Post Jan 2004

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