Short-term efficacy of Disulfiram or Naltrexone in reducing positive urinalysis for both cocaine and cocaethylene in cocaine abusers: a pilot study.
ABSTRACT Cocaine abusers frequently report taking the drug in association with alcohol. This combined intake leads to the synthesis of cocaethylene, an active metabolite with effects similar to those of cocaine, but more prolonged. Since pharmacological effects of cocaethylene may partially account for the habit of cocaine abusers to take the drug in combination with ethanol, a main therapeutic goal in these patients should be making body fluids negative for cocaethylene. This randomized controlled open study conducted on 12 subjects co-abusers of cocaine and alcohol, evaluates the efficacy of a 12-week pharmacological treatment with Disulfiram (DIS) 400mg daily or Naltrexone (NTX) 50mg daily associated with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), as compared to CBT alone, in terms of: (i) stay in treatment; (ii) drug-free urinalyses for cocaine and cocaethylene; (iii) reduction of alcohol and cocaine craving. Data presented in this study are restricted to the first 4 weeks of treatment when all the enrolled subjects were still available for examination. In fact, of the 12 subjects enrolled in the study only 4 (33%) completed the 12-week treatment. Of these, three were in the CBT group and one in the NTX/CBT group. Results show that CBT treated subjects remained in treatment longer than those assigned to either DIS/CBT or NTX/CBT therapies. However, during the first 4 weeks of treatment, CBT-group urine tested positive almost always for both cocaine and cocaethylene. In contrast, both DIS/CBT and NTX/CBT treatments were associated to a statistically significant reduction, of positive urinalysis for both cocaine and cocaethylene, with respect to CBT alone. Moreover, across the first 4 weeks of treatment DIS/CBT and NTX/CBT treated subjects maintained lower scores at Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) for both cocaine and alcohol craving than subjects receiving CBT alone. This pilot study suggests that the transient efficacy of pharmacological treatments in maintaining subjects drug free, does not add to the capability of CBT to retain them in treatment.
SourceAvailable from: Heino Stoever
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ABSTRACT: Disulfiram has shown promise as a pharmacotherapy for cocaine dependence in clinical settings, though it has many targets and the behavioral and molecular mechanisms underlying its efficacy are unclear. One of many biochemical actions of disulfiram is inhibition of dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), the enzyme that converts dopamine (DA) to norepinephrine (NE) in noradrenergic neurons. Thus, disulfiram simultaneously reduces NE and elevates DA tissue levels in the brain. In rats, both disulfiram and the selective DBH inhibitor, nepicastat, block cocaine-primed reinstatement, a paradigm which is thought to model some aspects of drug relapse. This is consistent with some clinical results and supports the use of DBH inhibitors for the treatment of cocaine dependence. The present study was conducted to confirm and extend these results in nonhuman primates. Squirrel monkeys trained to self-administer cocaine under a second-order schedule were pretreated with disulfiram or nepicastat prior to cocaine-induced reinstatement sessions. Neither DBH inhibitor altered cocaine-induced reinstatement, even when dose and pretreatment time were varied systematically. Unexpectedly, nepicastat administered alone induced a modest reinstatement effect in squirrel monkeys, but not in rats. To investigate the neurochemical mechanisms underlyling the behavioral results, the effects of DBH inhibition on extracellular DA were analyzed in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) using in vivo microdialysis in squirrel monkeys. Both disulfiram and nepicastat attenuated cocaine-induced DA overflow in the NAc. Hence, the attenuation of cocaine-induced changes in DA neurochemistry in the NAc was not associated with altered cocaine-seeking behavior. Overall, the reported behavioral effects of DBH inhibition in rodent models of relapse did not extend to nonhuman primates under the conditions employed in the current studies.Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 05/2014; 350(1). DOI:10.1124/jpet.113.212357 · 3.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Despite its success with compliant or supervised patients, disulfiram has been a controversial medication in the treatment of alcoholism. Often, study designs did not recognize a pivotal factor in disulfiram research, the importance of an open-label design. Our objectives are: (1) to analyze the efficacy and safety of disulfiram in RCTs in supporting abstinence and (2) to compare blind versus open-label studies, hypothesizing that blinded studies would show no difference between disulfiram and control groups because the threat would be evenly spread across all groups. We searched PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register for RCTs on disulfiram use with alcoholics in comparison to any alcoholic control group. The primary outcome was defined by the authors of each trial. Additional analyses included: blind vs. open-label, with or without supervision, cocaine study or not, and type of control. Overall, the 22 included studies showed a higher success rate of disulfiram compared to controls Hedges'g = .58 (95%CI = .35-.82). When comparing blind and open-label RCTs, only open-label trials showed a significant superiority over controls g = .70 (95%CI = .46-.93). RCTs with blind designs showed no efficacy of disulfiram compared to controls. Disulfiram was also more effective than the control condition when compared to naltrexone g = .77, 95%CI = .52-1.02, to acamprosate g = .76, 95%CI = .04-1.48, and to the no disulfiram groups g = .43, 95%CI = .17-.69. LIMITS INCLUDE: (1) a population of 89% male subjects and (2) a high but unavoidable heterogeneity of the studies with a substantial I-square in most subgroups of studies. Blinded studies were incapable of distinguishing a difference between treatment groups and thus are incompatible with disulfiram research. Based on results with open-label studies, disulfiram is a safe and efficacious treatment compared to other abstinence supportive pharmacological treatments or to no disulfiram in supervised studies for problems of alcohol abuse or dependence.PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e87366. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0087366 · 3.53 Impact Factor