A small, controlled study was conducted to assess whether pergolide mesylate has clinical promise as a treatment for cocaine abuse prior to embarking on a larger, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Fourteen individuals were placed on placebo for 2 weeks, followed by a 24-week single-blind study in which they were placed on pergolide for 12 weeks, followed by placebo for 12 weeks. Another 14 patients received single-blind placebo for two weeks and then were randomized into a 24-week double-blind, placebo-controlled, multiple baseline design. Initially, patients enrolled in the study were placed on risperidone (n = 9) or placebo (n = 5). During the first 12 weeks, retention was worse for those receiving pergolide compared to risperidone or placebo. Neither risperidone nor pergolide were more efficacious in reducing cocaine use than placebo. Although earlier open studies found pergolide to show promise as a treatment for cocaine abuse, this study did not support these earlier findings. Comparing an agent to both an active control and placebo group may better predict whether a promising new agent will have clinical utility compared to the standard open trial.