Gabapentin Reduces Cocaine Use Among Addicts From a Community Clinic Sample

Background: Individuals with chronic psychiatric conditions display a high rate of cocaine use. Gabapentin was hypothesized to reduce cocaine use by restoring inhibitory GABAergic feedback on ascending dopaminergic projections to nucleus accumbens neurons.

Method: Nine participants with DSM-IV
cocaine dependence were selected from patients attending a large community psychiatric clinic. During a 24-week open-label trial of gabapentin (800-2400 mg/day), qualitative urine drug screens were collected from the participants up
to 3 times per week. Data were collected from
September 1999 to May 2001.

Results: With gabapentin, the mean ± SD number of cocaine-positive urine screens decreased from 53.11 ± 13.23 to 35.22 ± 14.84 (t = 3.58, N = 9, p < .01). The number of weeks of abstinence from cocaine increased from 2.1 ± 1.5 to 8.0 ± 5.5 (t = 3.21, N = 9, p < .01).

Conclusion: Gabapentin appeared to be a safe and efficacious medication to reduce cocaine usage in a community sample of psychiatric patients.

J Clin Psychiatry 2004;65(1):84-86