The treatment of cocaine use disorder

Sci Adv. 2019 Oct 16;5(10):eaax1532. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax1532. eCollection 2019 Oct.


Cocaine use continues to be a serious worldwide public health problem. Cocaine abuse is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Cocaine overdose deaths are increasing in the United States and, in certain populations, outnumber heroin and opiate overdose deaths. Psychosocial treatments remain the treatments of choice for cocaine use disorder (CUD), with standard approaches including contingency management and cognitive behavioral therapy. However, the effect sizes of these treatments are not large, and they are not effective for most patients. Consequently, investigators have sought to develop pharmacological agents to augment the efficacy of psychosocial treatments. Despite these efforts, no medications have yet been proven to be safe and effective for the treatment of CUD. The most promising pharmacological strategies for CUD treatment thus far include the use of dopamine agonists, such as long-acting amphetamine and modafinil or glutamatergic and GABAergic agents such as topiramate. Combination drugs may be especially promising.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • United States


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Cocaine