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Anti-Epileptic Drug Curbs Cocaine Use in First Study Comparing Placebo Dose
Date:11/11/2009

They were Mexican parolees with an addiction to cocaine. They were also desperate pioneers whose drug use had gotten the better of them every day for years. They signed on to a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to test whether an epilepsy drug could reduce their use of cocaine. In the end, 14 of the 50 parolees who were taking a medicine called vigabatrin spent the final three weeks of the study with no signs of cocaine use on twice weekly urine tests, compared to four of 53 who swallowed a placebo dose. They were also less likely to be drinking alcohol during this same time period.

Manhasset, NY (Vocus) November 11, 2009 -- They were Mexican parolees with an addiction to cocaine. They were also desperate pioneers whose drug use had gotten the better of them every day for years. They signed on to a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to test whether an epilepsy drug could reduce their use of cocaine. In the end, 14 of the 50 parolees who were taking a medicine called vigabatrin spent the final three weeks of the study with no signs of cocaine use on twice weekly urine tests, compared to four of 53 who swallowed a placebo dose. They were also less likely to be drinking alcohol during this same time period.


   
The study, conducted by Stephen L. Dewey, PhD of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, NY, and Jonathan D. Brodie, MD, PhD, of New York University School of Medicine and their colleagues, appears in the November issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
   
Dr. Dewey and Dr. Brodie have spent more than a decade working on animal models, and now drug abusers, following their initial findings that the drug blocks important reinforcement regions of the brain tied to addictio
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