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Addiction. 2005 Mar;100 Suppl 1:1-11.

Cocaine Rapid Efficacy Screening Trial (CREST): a paradigm for the controlled evaluation of candidate medications for cocaine dependence.

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Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.



Development of effective medications for the treatment of cocaine dependence remains a major priority for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health. The Cocaine Rapid Efficacy Screening Trial (CREST) paradigm was developed by the Division of Treatment Research and Development (DT R&D) at NIDA with the goal of enhancing pilot clinical trial validity when systematically assessing a range of medications and drug classes for potential utility in treatment of cocaine dependence.


CREST utilizes a randomized, controlled, parallel group, blinded methodology for comparing one or more marketed medications against a standard, pharmaceutical grade placebo. The trial design is comprised of a flexible 24-week screening/baseline period followed by randomization to an 8-week treatment period.


Standard measures of outcomes for the CREST included urinary benzoylecgonine (primary metabolite of cocaine), retention, cocaine craving, depression, clinical global impression and HIV-risk behaviors. In order to facilitate comparisons of data from the CREST studies across sites, drug classes and time, standardized procedures, measures and psychosocial counseling were used.


A total of 19 medications were evaluated in out-patient treatment research clinics in Boston, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia.


Findings supported decisions to move forward three medications (cabergoline, reserpine, tiagabine) using full-scale, adequately powered, randomized placebo-controlled trial designs. Lessons learned from the CREST experience continue to shape cocaine pharmacotherapy trial design and execution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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