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What Effective Treatment For Cocaine Addiction Looks Like

on Wednesday, 23 July 2014. Posted in Breaking News

What Effective Treatment For Cocaine Addiction Looks Like

Traditionally the best treatment for cocaine addiction is to enter into a detoxification facility.

A detox facility will allow the physical addiction side effects of withdrawal to run their course .

There are currently no medications that have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for usage in the process of detoxing off of cocaine.


A drug called topiramate has been released recently as a drug used to treat epilepsy, glaucoma, and migraine headaches. A study conducted in the Maryland School of Medicine back near the end of 2013 used a controlled group of about 140 participants who were seeking to get help for their cocaine addiction.

The study was what was called a double-blind one, wherein a placebo medication (one that does nothing) was used alongside the doses of topiramate to be given to participants. Neither the participants nor the medical personnel who were administering the drug and conducting the study on the ground knew which medications were the ones that were the placebo and the ones that were the actual drug.

Once the study was completed, researchers who were running the study noticed that people who were taking the actual drug topiramate did much better coming off of their cocaine addiction than the ones who were taking the placebo.

Why a Placebo?

The reason why placebo drugs are used in these kinds of studies is to see how much of an addiction is physical versus mental, as well as the effect a drug has on a certain issue altogether.

When someone is taking a drug that they believe will help them with their problem, it has been found that the power of the mind believing that something is being taken to remedy the problem will in fact fix the problem, even if it is something that is not made to fix whatever problem it is in the first place.

Placebo Use

Placebos are used to see if this kind of psychological anomaly will in fact solve the problem, the problem in this case being cocaine addiction, versus a drug that has a chemical characteristic and is designed to perform a function in the body of the user.

In the case of this study, the power of the mind believing it was taking something aimed at fixing cocaine addiction proved to be less effective than the power of the drug topiramate itself. This is how it is determined if a drug will fix certain issues or not, and thus how we have drugs to be used in certain cases in the first place; this practice is extremely common.

The Results

"Our findings reveal that topiramate is a safe and robustly efficacious medicine for the treatment of cocaine dependence, and has the potential to make a major contribution to the global health crisis of addiction," Professor Bankole Johnson of the Maryland School of Medicine said.

"However, topiramate treatment also is associated with glaucoma, and higher doses of the drug can increase the risk of side effects; therefore, caution must be exercised when prescribing the drug, especially when given in high doses."

Hope for the Future

It is hoped that this drug, and the testing of others like it via similar methods, will bring about a surge in change when it comes to the effective treatment of cocaine addiction.

Cocaine addiction is one that causes the most emergency room visits of any illicit drug in the country. It can be extremely dangerous to use, sometimes causing sudden death in any user, even if it is the first time that they have used it.

Over time, cocaine degrades the heart and causes dangerous heart problems in users, making it lethal even long after someone has quit using the drug altogether.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

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