Choosing a behavioral therapy platform for pharmacotherapy of substance users

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2004 Aug 16;75(2):123-34. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2004.02.007.


Behavioral therapy platforms have become virtual requirements in pharmacotherapy trials due to their utility in reducing noise variability, preventing differential medication adherence and protocol attrition, enhancing statistical power and addressing ethical issues in placebo-controlled trials. Selecting an appropriate behavioral platform for a particular trial requires study-specific tailoring, taking into account both the stage of development of the medication being evaluated, as well as the specific strengths and weaknesses of a broad array of available empirically supported behavioral therapies and the range of their possible targets (e.g., enhancing medication adherence, preventing attrition, addressing co-morbid problems, fostering abstinence, and targeting specific weaknesses of the pharmacologic agent). Choosing a suitable behavioral platform also requires consideration of the characteristics of the population to be treated, stage of scientific knowledge regarding the medication's effects, appropriate balance of internal and external validity, and consideration of potential ceiling effects. Available manualized behavioral treatments are reviewed, noting their strengths and limitations as behavioral therapy platforms for pharmacotherapy trials and as potential concomitant therapies in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / economics
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Behavior Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders / economics
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*