Treatment with modafinil and escitalopram, alone and in combination, on cocaine-induced effects: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled human laboratory study

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Aug 1:141:72-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.05.008. Epub 2014 May 28.


Background: Concurrent administration of dopamine and serotonin reuptake inhibitors reduces cocaine self-administration in monkeys. Consonant with this, clinical trials assessing modafinil and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors alone show some efficacy as potential pharmacotherapies for cocaine dependence. We hypothesized that combining modafinil with escitalopram would attenuate the euphoric effects of cocaine to a greater degree than modafinil alone.

Methods: In a randomized, double blind, parallel groups design participants received either placebo (0mg/day; n=16), modafinil (200mg/day; n=16), escitalopram (20mg/day; n=17), or modafinil+escitalopram (200+20mg/day; n=15) for 5 days. On day 5, during separate sessions participants received an intravenous sample of cocaine (0 or 20mg; randomized) and five $1 bills. Participants rated the subjective effects of the infusions and subsequently made choices to either return $1 and receive another infusion or keep $1 and receive no infusion.

Results: Compared to saline, cocaine (20mg) significantly (p≤0.008) increased most ratings, including "good effects", "stimulated", and "high". Relative to placebo, modafinil significantly (p≤0.007) attenuated subject-rated increases of "any drug effect", "high", "good effects", and "stimulated" produced by cocaine. Compared to saline, participants chose cocaine infusions significantly more; however, no treatment significantly reduced choices for cocaine infusions. Escitalopram did not enhance the efficacy of modafinil to reduce any measure.

Conclusions: Modafinil attenuated many positive subjective effects produced by cocaine; however, escitalopram combined with modafinil did not enhance the efficacy of modafinil to reduce cocaine effects.

Keywords: Cocaine; Escitalopram; Modafinil; Subjective effects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Choice Behavior / drug effects*
  • Citalopram / pharmacology*
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Modafinil
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / administration & dosage*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Citalopram
  • Cocaine
  • Modafinil