Skip to Content

Medication Propranolol May Help Cocaine Addicts Kick the Habit for Good


Propranolol is a beta-blocker commonly used to treat high blood pressure and generalized anxiety disorder. After almost a decade of research, scientists now believe they are close to finally having propranolol approved as the first prescription medication to treat cocaine addiction.

How Propranolol Works

Scientists have identified the primary players in the brain responsible for "extinction" learning - the ability to replace cocaine-associated memories with associations that have no drug "reward." Propranolol works similar to the way Chantix does for smokers: if the brain does not get what it needs then it no longer has a desire for the cocaine.

Results of Clinical Study

“The effects of propranolol were long-lasting and could be permanent, even without subsequent doses and even in the presence of stimuli known to induce relapse.” Said Mueller, UWM assistant professor of psychology and a co-author of the study.