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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2001 Jun 1;63(1):69-78.

Effectiveness of propranolol for cocaine dependence treatment may depend on cocaine withdrawal symptom severity.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Propranolol may reduce symptoms of autonomic arousal associated with early cocaine abstinence and improve treatment outcome. This trial was an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of propranolol in 108 cocaine dependent subjects. The primary outcome measure was quantitative urinary benzoylecgonine levels. Secondary outcome measures included treatment retention, addiction severity index results, cocaine craving, mood and anxiety symptoms, cocaine withdrawal symptoms, and adverse events. Propranolol treated subjects had lower cocaine withdrawal symptom severity but otherwise did not differ from placebo treated subjects in any outcome measure. However, in a secondary, exploratory analysis, subjects with more severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms responded better to propranolol in comparison to placebo. In these subjects, propranolol treatment was associated with better treatment retention and lower urinary benzoylecgonine levels as compared with the placebo treatment. Propranolol may be useful only for the treatment of cocaine dependent patients with severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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