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What Treatments are Effective for Cocaine Abusers?

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Updated March 06, 2014

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Question: What Treatments are Effective for Cocaine Abusers?
Answer: Cocaine addiction can be a complex condition, causing the addict issues not only with the addiction itself, but with a wide variety of personal problems. Treatment for cocaine, therefore, needs to be a comprehensive approach to addressing the addict's social, family and other environmental problems.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine treatment strategies need to include assessment of the neurobiological, social, and medical aspects of the patient's drug use. Many times this includes multiple drugs of abuse.

Additionally, those who are addicted to multiple drugs also often have other co-occurring mental health issues which also must be addressed in treatment.

Pharmacological Approaches

There are currently no medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat cocaine addiction, although aggressive research is being conducted to find and test new medications that can help cocaine addicts.

Some of the medications currently being tested are those that are FDA approved for other conditions or diseases. Some that are showing promise for cocaine treatment include vigabatrin, modafinil, tiagabine, disulfiram, and topiramate.

New medications are being researched that block the effects of cocaine on various areas of the brain to help prevent relapse in patients who have already quit using the drug. This includes a "cocaine vaccine" that has shown "great promise," the NIDA says.

Behavioral Interventions

There are several behavioral treatments that are being used in residential and outpatient settings to treat cocaine addictions. Currently, they are the only approved and evidence-based treatments available for cocaine and crack cocaine abusers.

Some of these behavioral treatments include:

For more detailed information on how drug treatment programs work and their effectiveness, please see: Drug Addiction Treatment FAQs.

Has cocaine become a problem for you? Take the Cocaine Screening Quiz

Do you think you may need treatment for drug abuse? Take the Drug Abuse Treatment Screening Quiz to find out.

Back to: Cocaine FAQ

Source:

National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Cocaine: Abuse and Addiction." Research Report Series Updated September 2010

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