A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial
of Modafinil for Cocaine Dependence

Dackis CA, Kampman KM, Lynch KG,
Pettinati HM, O'brien CP.
1University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine,
Philadelphia, USA.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2004 Nov 03


Despite years of active research, there are still no approved medications for the treatment of cocaine dependence. Modafinil is a glutamate-enhancing agent that blunts cocaine euphoria under controlled conditions, and the current study assessed whether modafinil would improve clinical outcome in cocaine-dependent patients receiving standardized psychosocial treatment. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted at a university outpatient center (from 2002 to 2003) on a consecutive sample of 62 (predominantly African American) cocaine-dependent patients (aged 25-63) free of significant medical and psychiatric conditions. After screening, eligible patients were randomized to a single morning dose of modafinil (400 mg), or matching placebo tablets, for 8 weeks while receiving manual-guided, twice-weekly cognitive behavioral therapy. The primary efficacy measure was cocaine abstinence based on urine benzoylecgonine levels. Secondary measures were craving, cocaine withdrawal, retention, and adverse events. Modafinil-treated patients provided significantly more BE-negative urine samples (p=0.03) over the 8-week trial when compared to placebos, and were more likely to achieve a protracted period (>/=3 weeks) of cocaine abstinence (p=0.05). There were no serious adverse events, and none of the patients failed to complete the study as a result of adverse events. This study provides preliminary evidence, which should be confirmed by a larger study, that modafinil improves clinical outcome when combined with psychosocial treatment for cocaine dependence.

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