Gabapentin in the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence: A Case Series

Background: Although multiple medications have been studied for the treatment of cocaine dependence, no medication has been shown to have a robust effect on craving and use. This pilot project was designed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of gabapentin in subjects with cocaine dependence.

Method: Thirty cocaine-dependent subjects (DSM-IV criteria) were enrolled in an 8-week, open-label trial of 1200 mg/day of gabapentin in divided doses. Urine drug screens, subjective measures of craving, and cocaine use interviews were conducted at each weekly visit.

Results: Baseline rating of amount and frequency of craving decreased significantly by week 8 (78% vs. 25% for amount, p = .000; 74% vs. 23% for frequency, p = .004). Positive urine drug screens for cocaine decreased from 86% at baseline to 29% at weeks 4 and 8. There were no reports of significant side effects or adverse events.

Conclusion: This pilot study indicates that gabapentin is safe and well tolerated and may be beneficial in the treatment of cocaine dependence. A placebo-controlled trial would be of interest.

J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(1):19-23