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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1993 Aug;13(4):243-50.

Fluoxetine for cocaine dependence in methadone maintenance: quantitative plasma and urine cocaine/benzoylecgonine concentrations.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine 94110.


Cocaine abuse is a common clinical problem among opioid-dependent patients who are in methadone maintenance treatment. In an open prospective study, 16 DSM-III-R, cocaine-dependent, methadone maintenance treatment patients were treated with fluoxetine, at a mean dose of 45 mg/day for 9 weeks. Eleven subjects (69%) were infected with the human immunodeficiency virus. Cocaine use was significantly reduced by the end of treatment, although most subjects did not achieve abstinence. Comparison of intake to week 9 showed a significant decrease in self-reported cocaine use, craving, and quality of high. Actual cocaine use was measured by a quantitative analysis of cocaine and benzoylecgonine (BE) concentrations in plasma and urine. Median BE and cocaine concentrations in urine decreased significantly from intake to week 9 of fluoxetine treatment. This decrease would not have been detected if BE had been measured only qualitatively, as present or absent in the urine. Fluoxetine was well tolerated in combination with methadone and did not appear to alter methadone concentrations in plasma. Few adverse effects were noted. No subjects had to discontinue fluoxetine. Fluoxetine may be a promising treatment approach for cocaine abuse in methadone maintenance patients. Quantitative determination of exact cocaine and BE concentrations in biofluids may be a more accurate method of measuring cocaine use outcome than qualitative urinalysis.

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