Baseline neurocognitive profiles differentiate abstainers and non-abstainers in a cocaine clinical trial

J Addict Dis. 2009 Jul;28(3):250-7. doi: 10.1080/10550880903028502.


Previous studies have shown that cocaine users have higher levels of impulsivity and impaired decision making; however, few have examined these factors as predictors of treatment success. We obtained baseline neurocognitive measures from 75 cocaine-dependent individuals participating in a 12-week clinical trial targeting impulsivity with behavioral therapies and pharmacotherapy. Participants treated with citalopram had higher cocaine abstinence rates compared to placebo-treated participants. The aim of this secondary analysis study was to determine whether profiles of performance on neurocognitive measures administered at baseline discriminated among patients who achieved abstinence and those who did not. Participants completed the Immediate and Delayed Memory Task, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11, and Iowa Gambling Task. Profile analysis results showed different patterns of performance on these baseline measures as a function of outcome. Compared with non-abstinent participants, abstinent participants had higher scores on the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11 Non-Planning subscale and better performance on the Iowa Gambling Task. Profile differences for the two outcome groups did not vary as a function of treatment condition. Results suggest that cocaine-dependent patients entering treatment with higher impulsivity and less impaired decision-making abilities may respond favorably to targeted behavioral interventions. Neurocognitive profiles may be useful in understanding population heterogeneity and predicting differential outcomes in subgroups of cocaine abusers.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Citalopram / therapeutic use*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Citalopram