Tiagabine affects the subjective responses to cocaine in humans

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2005 Nov;82(3):569-73. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2005.10.013. Epub 2005 Dec 5.


In preclinical studies, medications which increase the synaptic GABA levels have been shown to block cocaine reinforcement. In this study, we examined the interaction between a GABA enhancing medication, tiagabine, and cocaine in cocaine users. A total of 7 subjects, 5 male and 2 female cocaine users had 2 experimental sessions. Before each session, subjects received either two oral doses of 4 mg of tiagabine or placebo. Starting 2 h after the second dose of medication treatment, subjects received an injection of saline followed by 2 escalating cocaine doses (0.15 and 0.3 mg/kg) intravenously. Tiagabine treatment did not affect the cocaine-induced blood pressure and heart rate changes. Tiagabine treatment attenuated the subjective ratings of "stimulated" and "crave cocaine" in response to cocaine administration. These results suggest that tiagabine treatment attenuates some of the subjective effects of cocaine without affecting its cardiovascular effects. GABA medications, including tiagabine, are currently being evaluated in controlled clinical trials for the treatment of cocaine dependence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cocaine / blood
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • GABA Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Nipecotic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Placebos
  • Tiagabine


  • GABA Agonists
  • Nipecotic Acids
  • Placebos
  • Cocaine
  • Tiagabine