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New drug combo could treat cocaine addiction


Cocaine addiction can be one of the hardest addictions to treat, right alongside methamphetamine dependence or chronic alcohol abuse.

Strange as it may sound, recent addiction therapies have focused on using amphetamines--the same drugs used to treat ADD and hyperactivity. The other medication on the block widely prescribed to recovering addicts is topiramate, an anti-seizure drug that's been shown to help smokers and drinkers kick their habits.

Put the two together? Well, you might just have a promising treatment for cocaine addicts.

It takes two

On its own, topiramate is somewhat slow to start working, but combined with amphetamines, a medical trial showed that patients taking a combo of the drugs were almost twice as likely to stay clean for three weeks straight than those taking a placebo drug. In addition to taking either a drug combo or a placebo, all patients in the trial received psychiatric counseling.

The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, was small, but promising.

Helpful for cravings and frequent users

In addition to helping addicts abstain, the drug combo also appeared to reduce cravings more quickly than when taking topiramate alone. Moreover, taking both medications seemed to have the biggest positive impact on those who used cocaine most frequently, which is a population that is often the hardest to treat.

Authors of the study note that the dual drug dose seems to help correct chemical imbalances in the brain caused by cocaine use.

Source: LA Times