Cocaine withdrawal symptoms predict medication response in cocaine users

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2006;32(4):617-27. doi: 10.1080/00952990600920680.


The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of cocaine withdrawal symptoms on addiction severity and treatment outcomes in methadone stabilized cocaine users who participated in pharmacotherapy trials using gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) medications. Subjects who fulfilled DSM-IV cocaine withdrawal criteria (n = 45), compared to those who did not (n = 40), showed a greater increase in cocaine free urines in response to pharmacotherapy with GABA medications. Altogether, our results and previous studies support the clinical utility of cocaine withdrawal symptoms in predicting treatment response to medications, such that low withdrawal severity may predict better treatment response to GABA medications, while high withdrawal severity may predict better response to adrenergic blockers. This hypothesis needs to be tested in prospective clinical trials.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cocaine / urine
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • GABA Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outpatients
  • Placebos
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • GABA Agents
  • Placebos
  • Cocaine