Cocaine addicts could be treated with less-addictive amphetamines, similar to using methadone to treat opiate addiction, ScienceDaily reported April 6.
Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers reported at the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics that they had successfully lowered cocaine self-administration among research monkeys by giving the animals amphetamines. "This suggests the possibility of developing an amphetamine-like drug for treating cocaine addiction," said lead researcher Paul Czoty, Ph.D. "The research also demonstrates the usefulness for conducting studies in monkeys to test potential treatments."
In the animal study, cocaine use was reduced by 60 percent. No FDA-approved pharmacological treatment for cocaine addiction currently exists, Czoty noted. "While it's unlikely that amphetamine itself will turn out to be the best treatment, these drugs allow us to prove the concept of using a replacement drug to combat cocaine addiction," he said.