A new study has found a surprising way to treat cocaine addiction—a dependence that no single drug has treated effectively so far. According to the Los Angeles Times, researchers from the Columbia University treated cocaine users with a mix of topiramate (an anti-seizure drug) and amphetamines (a stimulant) for 120 days. The study found that 33 percent of cocaine users who took the combination drugs stayed free of cocaine for three consecutive weeks, compared to only 16.7 percent of users who took a placebo drug. Both groups also received psychotherapy along with their medication regimes.
Topiramate and amphetamines have both been tried separately as a cocaine addiction treatment method, with lackluster results. Topiramate has shown some success in treating nicotine and alcohol dependence, but is slower in acting against cocaine addiction when administered on its own. By itself, topiramate took eight weeks to reduce cocaine cravings, whereas the drug combined with amphetamines appeared to reduce cravings within a few weeks. Amphetamines alone have not worked to treat cocaine addiction. The study’s authors believe that the combination drugs are working to correct chemical imbalances in the brain.
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