Preclinical models of behavioral and toxic effects of cocaine are reviewed and their potential for predicting compounds with efficacy and safety in the medical management of cocaine abuse and toxicity is assessed. Many of the existing models appear to be good predictors of the effects of compounds against specific behavioral or toxicological actions of cocaine. However, the utility of the models for prediction of the efficacy of new therapeutic entities must await clinical validation as no accepted or standard pharmacotherapy currently exists. Preclinical data generated by these models with drugs currently under clinical investigation for cocaine abuse treatment as well as with other compounds are reviewed. These compounds include buprenorphine, bromocriptine, desmethylimipramine, carbamazepine, dopaminergic agonists, antagonists and partial agonists, dopamine reuptake inhibitors, sigma ligands, serotonin antagonists, and excitatory amino acid antagonists. Preclinical information on several drug classes appears sufficiently promising to warrant further evaluation. These include dopamine agonists and partial agonists, D1 receptor antagonists, selective sigma ligands, and modulators of the N-methyl-D-aspartate subtype glutamate receptor.