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Drug Alcohol Depend. 1996 Nov;42(3):167-74.

Failure of ritanserin to block cocaine cue reactivity in humans.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Treatment Research Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6178, USA.


As part of a double-blind placebo-controlled study of the effects of ritanserin on cocaine use and craving, reactivity to cocaine-related events was assessed both before and during medication. Twenty-two patients receiving ritanserin and 23 receiving placebo were exposed to cocaine cues while continuous measures of heart rate, skin temperature, and skin resistance were taken. Self-reports of high, withdrawal, and craving were also collected. The cues produced significant physiological responding as well as significant increases in high and craving during both sessions. Ritanserin reduced cue-elicited decreases in skin temperature, but had no effect on heart rate and skin resistance or on cue-induced high and craving. The results demonstrate that cue reactivity is a robust phenomenon across two assessment sessions but fail to support the use of ritanserin as a means of reducing cue-elicited drug states.

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