Many pharmacotherapies for treating cocaine dependence are aimed at reducing drug effects, alleviating craving, and preventing relapse. We demonstrated previously that citicoline, a compound used to repair neuronal damage in stroke and brain injury, is safe in cocaine-abusing volunteers.
Objectives: This study assessed the effectiveness of an 8-week citicoline treatment period and 4-week follow-up in cocaine-dependent individuals.
Methods: Twenty-nine healthy nontreatment-seeking, cocaine-dependent male and female volunteers were randomized in this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 18 of whom completed the treatment period of the study. Participants took citicoline (500 mg twice daily) or matched placebo each day and recorded the measures of craving and drug use. Participants visited the laboratory twice a week for urine screens and to attend weekly group therapy sessions.
Results: Citicoline had no effect on cocaine craving or total use.
Conclusions: Although the current preliminary results from this small trial suggest that citicoline is not an effective treatment for heavy cocaine users, further investigation on efficacy citicoline as a treatment for substance dependence in other settings may be warranted.