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Ritalin shows promise in treating addiction
Date:6/27/2013

dstein and her team recruited 18 cocaine addicted individuals, who were randomized to receive an oral dose of methylphenidate or placebo. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the strength of connectivity in particular brain circuits known to play a role in addiction before and during peak drug effects. They also assessed each subject's severity of addiction to see if this had any bearing on the results.

Methylphenidate decreased connectivity between areas of the brain that have been strongly implicated in the formation of habits, including compulsive drug seeking and craving. The scans also showed that methylphenidate strengthened connectivity between several brain regions involved in regulating emotions and exerting control over behaviorsconnections previously reported to be disrupted in cocaine addiction.

"The benefits of methylphenidate were present after only one dose, indicating that this drug has significant potential as a treatment add-on for addiction to cocaine and possibly other stimulants," said Dr. Goldstein. "This is a preliminary study, but the findings are exciting and warrant further exploration, particularly in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy or cognitive remediation."


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