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Methylphenidate Treatment for Cocaine Abusers With Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Pilot Study

J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59:300-305

Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is common among cocaine abusers seeking treatment. This open trial was carried out to assess the efficacy of sustained-release methylphenidate for the treatment of cocaine abuse among individuals with ADHD.

Method: Twelve patients who met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for adult ADHD and cocaine dependence were entered into a 12-week trial of divided daily doses of sustained-release methylphenidate ranging from 40 to 80 mg. In addition to the pharmacotherapy, patients also received individual weekly relapse prevention therapy. Individuals were assessed weekly for ADHD symptoms; vital signs and urine toxicologies were obtained 3 times a week.

Results: Of the 12 patients entered, 10 completed at least 8 weeks of the study and 8 completed the entire study. Using both a semistructured clinical interview and a self-report assessment, patients reported reductions in attention difficulties, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Self-reported cocaine use and craving decreased significantly. More importantly, cocaine use, confirmed by urine toxicologies, also decreased significantly.

Conclusion: These preliminary data suggest that under close supervision, the combined intervention of sustained-release methylphenidate and relapse prevention therapy may be effective in treating individuals with both adult ADHD and cocaine dependence.