Reboxetine for the treatment of patients with Cocaine Dependence Disorder

Hum Psychopharmacol. 2005 Apr;20(3):189-92. doi: 10.1002/hup.677.


Background: Although several approaches have been attempted for cocaine dependence, the pharmacological treatment of this serious disorder remains unclear. To date, desipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant of great noradrenergic activity, has shown the best results. Reboxetine, a selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, might be an effective therapeutic option for this severe drug addiction. The aim was preliminarily to assess reboxetine in a group of cocaine dependent patients, selected from The Madrid City Council Drug Addiction Program primary care centres.

Method: Twenty six patients with a diagnosis of cocaine dependence disorder (DSM-IV 304.20) were selected to receive open treatment with reboxetine, 8 mg/day, for 12 weeks. Follow up assessments comprised cocaine consumption, treatment retention rate and change in standard structured psychometric instrument scores: cocaine selective severity assessment, Hamilton anxiety scale, Hamilton depression scale and clinical global impression, throughout the treatment period.

Results: Data were obtained from 20 patients; 10 of them remained abstinent, whereas the other 10 consumed cocaine at some time during the study. The treatment retention rate at week 12 was 61.5%. The psychometric instrument mean scores showed marked decreases throughout the treatment period.

Conclusion: Reboxetine might be an effective and safe therapeutic option for cocaine dependence disorder. The aversive effects, as well as the high blockage reported by some patients consuming cocaine during the trial, might be related to treatment. If confirmed in large clinical trials, the trends suggested by this study would confirm the role of noradrenergic function in the treatment of cocaine dependence.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morpholines / adverse effects
  • Morpholines / therapeutic use*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reboxetine
  • Secondary Prevention


  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Morpholines
  • Reboxetine