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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2004 Jul;27(1):45-9.

A double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study of risperidone for decreasing cue-elicited craving in recently withdrawn cocaine dependent patients.

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  • 1Department of Veterans Affairs, VISN 3 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Bronx, NY, USA.


Cocaine use causes an initial increase in dopamine and serotonin neurotransmission that is largely responsible for the pleasurable and reinforcing effects of the drug. Dysregulation of these neurotransmitters during withdrawal plays an important role in craving. Recent research has focused on the use of dopamine and serotonin antagonists early in recovery to reduce cocaine craving in both schizophrenic and non-schizophrenic cocaine dependent patients. This 2-week, double blind, placebo-controlled study compared risperidone vs. placebo in reducing cue-elicited cocaine craving. Thirty-four subjects with cocaine dependence were randomized to either risperidone or a placebo and underwent a weekly cue-exposure procedure. Although both groups had a reduction in craving over time, there were no significant differences among those treated with risperidone (n=19) compared to those taking a placebo (n=16) on the four craving dimensions. The results do not support the hypothesis that risperidone reduces cocaine craving among non-schizophrenic cocaine-dependent individuals.

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