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Addict Behav. 2014 Jun;39(6):1057-61. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.02.015. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Preliminary evidence for normalization of risk taking by modafinil in chronic cocaine users.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, Connecticut Mental Health Center, 34 Park St, New Haven, CT 06519, USA. Electronic address: svcanavan@uchicago.edu.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, Connecticut Mental Health Center, 34 Park St, New Haven, CT 06519, USA. Electronic address: erica.forselius@yale.edu.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, Connecticut Mental Health Center, 34 Park St, New Haven, CT 06519, USA. Electronic address: andrew.bessette@yale.edu.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, Connecticut Mental Health Center, 34 Park St, New Haven, CT 06519, USA. Electronic address: peter.morgan@yale.edu.

Abstract

Modafinil, a wake-promoting agent used to treat sleep disorders, is thought to enhance cognition. Although modafinil has shown promise as a pharmacotherapy for the treatment of cocaine dependence, it is unknown to what extent cognitive effects may play a role in such treatment. We examined the effect of modafinil on the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART), a behavioral measure in which higher scores are purported to reflect a greater propensity for risk-taking. Thirty cocaine dependent individuals, enrolled in a randomized clinical trial of modafinil 400mg (n=12) versus placebo (n=18), were administered the BART during the second week of inpatient treatment for cocaine dependence. A comparison cohort of healthy participants (n=19) performed the BART under similar conditions. Modafinil treatment was associated with significantly higher BART scores (p=0.01), which were comparable to scores in healthy persons. BART scores in placebo treated participants were much lower than previously reported in healthy participants, and lower than those observed in the comparison cohort. As propensity toward risk taking is typically associated with higher BART scores as well as increased risk for substance use, our findings may reflect a novel aspect of cognitive impairment related to chronic cocaine use. Notably, the low BART scores reflect highly suboptimal performance on the task, and the observed effect of modafinil may indicate a normalization of this impairment and have implications for treatment outcome.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Balloon Analogue Risk Task; Cocaine dependence; Cognition; Modafinil; Risk taking

PMID:
24642345
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4026273
[Available on 2015-06-01]
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