Nefazodone treatment of cocaine dependence with comorbid depressive symptoms

Authors

  • Domenic A. Ciraulo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine and VA Boston Healthcare System Medication Development Research Unit (MDRU), Boston, MA, USA,
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  • Clifford Knapp,

    1. Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine and VA Boston Healthcare System Medication Development Research Unit (MDRU), Boston, MA, USA,
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  • John Rotrosen,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine and VA New York Harbor Healthcare, New York, NY, USA,
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  • Ofra Sarid-Segal,

    1. Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine and VA Boston Healthcare System Medication Development Research Unit (MDRU), Boston, MA, USA,
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  • Ann Marie Ciraulo,

    1. Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine and VA Boston Healthcare System Medication Development Research Unit (MDRU), Boston, MA, USA,
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  • Joseph LoCastro,

    1. Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine and VA Boston Healthcare System Medication Development Research Unit (MDRU), Boston, MA, USA,
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  • David J. Greenblatt,

    1. Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA and
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  • Deborah Leiderman

    1. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, MD, USA
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Domenic A. Ciraulo
Boston University School of Medicine
Doctors Office Building
Suite 914
720 Harrison Avenue
Boston
MA 02118
USA
E-mail: dciraulo@bu.edu

ABSTRACT

Aims  In the current study, nefazodone, an antidepressant with dual action on serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake as well as 5-HT2A receptor antagonist effects, was studied in subjects with cocaine dependence and depressive symptoms, to determine its efficacy in reducing cocaine use.

Design  An 8-week, double blind, placebo-controlled design was used.

Setting  The study was conducted at the Medication Development Research Unit (MDRU) at the VA Boston Healthcare System and the Manhattan Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Medical Center.

Participants  Subjects (n = 69) met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual version IV (DSM-IV) criteria for cocaine dependence and had Hamilton Depression Scores of 12 or higher.

Intervention  Subjects were assigned randomly to receive nefazodone 200 mg twice daily (n = 34) or matching placebo (n = 35). All subjects received individual counseling.

Measurements  Urinary measurements of benzoylecgonine (BE, three times per week) and self-reports of cocaine use were the primary outcome measures. Secondary outcome measures included assessments of psychiatric functioning, cocaine craving and social functioning.

Findings  Median weekly BE declined more rapidly in the nefazodone than in the placebo group. Median urine BE at baseline was, however, significantly greater in nefazodone than in the placebo group. Scores for strength of cocaine craving also decreased more rapidly in the nefazodone group compared to the placebo group. Both groups had equivalent improvement in mood, psychosocial functioning and self-reported cocaine use.

Conclusions  These results suggest that nefazodone administration can reduce cocaine craving after it has been administered for several weeks. Although the nefazodone group had a greater rate of decrease in BE levels than the placebo group, the interpretation of this finding is obscured by significant group differences in baseline BE levels.

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