A preliminary investigation of lamotrigine for cocaine abuse in HIV-seropositive patients

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1998 Feb;24(1):85-101. doi: 10.3109/00952999809001700.


Theoretical considerations as well as pre-clinical data suggest a potential role for glutamate-inhibiting agents in the treatment of cocaine addiction. At present, however, there is little clinical data to inform the use of these agents for this application. In this preliminary study eighteen HIV-seropositive cocaine dependent, opiate-agonist maintained patients received lamotrigine (300 mg/day), an indirect glutamate release inhibitor, on either a standard (n = 8) or accelerated (n = 10) induction schedule for 12 weeks. Results showed a significant decrease in percentage of cocaine-positive urine screens in the standard induction lamotrigine group but not in the accelerated induction group. There were fewer reports of side-effects and fewer dropouts in the standard-induction lamotrigine group compared to the accelerated induction group. Neuropsychological assessments suggested a decrement in the Trail Making Tests, but no other decreases in cognitive functioning. We conclude that standard-induction lamotrigine warrants further investigation for the treatment of cocaine abuse in this patient population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Buprenorphine / adverse effects
  • Buprenorphine / therapeutic use
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology
  • HIV Seropositivity / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Lamotrigine
  • Male
  • Methadone / adverse effects
  • Methadone / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychotherapy, Group
  • Substance Abuse Detection
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / psychology
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / rehabilitation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triazines / adverse effects
  • Triazines / therapeutic use*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Triazines
  • Buprenorphine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Methadone