Topiramate's effects on cocaine-induced subjective mood, craving and preference for money over drug taking


  • Please copy on all editorial correspondence: Robert H. Cormier, Jr., B.A. E-mail:

Correspondence to: Bankole A. Johnson, Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia, PO Box 800623, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0623, USA. E-mail:


Topiramate, presumably through antagonism of excitatory glutaminergic pathways and facilitation of inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid neurons in the cortico-mesolimbic system, might reduce cocaine's abuse liability. We tested whether topiramate (100 mg twice daily) would reduce the euphoria, subjective mood, craving and preference for cocaine over money induced by low and high doses (0.325 and 0.65 mg/kg i.v., respectively) of experimentally administered cocaine in 24 male and female, cocaine-dependent, non-treatment-seeking research volunteers in a university in-patient laboratory. We utilized a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject, Latin-square cross-over design in which three experimental challenge doses of low-dose cocaine, high-dose cocaine and placebo were administered in counterbalanced order after 5 days of topiramate or matching placebo pre-treatments separated by a 1-week washout period (2006–2009). After placebo pre-treatments, cocaine produced dose-related increases in euphoria, stimulant effects, craving for more cocaine and monetary value of cocaine in a behavioral preference test of cocaine versus money choice. Topiramate pre-treatment reduced the cocaine-related craving and monetary value of high-dose cocaine while increasing the monetary value, euphoria and stimulant effects of low-dose cocaine. Validated and standardized human experimental methods evaluating the potential for topiramate to alter cocaine's abuse liability suggest that topiramate may reduce the reinforcing effects and craving induced by higher cocaine doses. Low-dose cocaine might appear to have some enhancement of its stimulant properties in the presence of topiramate's prominent sedative effects.