En español



Quick Links

Medication can help prevent relapse in cocaine-dependent males

Science Spotlight

April 03, 2014

Relapse rates are similar for drug addiction & other chronic illnessesThis image compares relapse rates for drug-addicted patients with those suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. Relapse is common and similar across these illnesses (as is adherence to medication). Thus, drug addiction should be treated like any other chronic illness, with relapse serving as a trigger for renewed intervention.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the NIH, has released the results of a new study showing that the medication baclofen can help prevent relapse in cocaine-dependent males.  Drug cues, even subliminal ones, can trigger people with drug addiction to seek and participate in drug use.  The drug baclofen, which is commonly used to prevent spasms in patients with spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders, interferes with the brain’s early response to these subliminal drug cues and can stunt the internal processing of drug-related cues that can lead to relapse.

In the study, males who received baclofen had significantly reduced responses to drug cues than those in the control group.  As a comparison between the two groups, there were no significant differences when other images were seen, showing that baclofen works exclusively by blocking the effects of drug cues.  These new findings suggest that baclofen can be used to help people with drug addiction avoid triggers and potential relapse.

For a copy of the study abstract (published online April 2), go to:

For a copy of the press release from the University of Pennsylvania, go to:

For more information about cocaine and triggers, go to:

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.

NIDA Press Office

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH. . .Turning Discovery Into Health®

News Releases







Get this Publication

    Cite this article

    NIDA. (2014, April 3). Medication can help prevent relapse in cocaine-dependent males. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2014/04/medication-can-help-prevent-relapse-in-cocaine-dependent-males

    press ctrl+c to copy
    Receive Latest Science Articles in your Email!
    You will only receive messages related to Latest Science