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Treatment

Serotonin Receptor Agonist Lorcaserin Reduces Relapse to Drug Use in Monkeys

The serotonin 2C receptor agonist lorcaserin reduced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior in response to heroin or cocaine in a nonhuman primate model of relapse.

Basic Science

Machine Learning Applied to Brain Imaging Data Predicts Response to Cocaine Use Disorder Treatment

This study demonstrated that functional connectivity among a large number of brain regions predicts patients’ chances of achieving abstinence in treatment for cocaine use disorder.

Basic Science

Transcription Factor E2F3a Mediates Cocaine’s Effects on Gene Expression and Addiction-Related Behaviors

This study demonstrated that cocaine increases expression of the protein E2F3a in the brain’s reward system. The changes in E2F3a levels in the nucleus accumbens are tied to addiction-related behaviors and to altered gene expression.

Basic Science

Disruption of Serotonin Contributes to Cocaine’s Effects

This research traced the effects of cocaine-induced disruption of serotonin regulation in the ventral pallidum and orbitofrontal cortex. The findings suggest that these effects may contribute to drug-seeking and cocaine-associated cognitive impairments.

Basic Science

Cocaine-Induced Increase in an Immune Protein Promotes Addiction Behaviors in Mice

Cocaine produces a portion of its rewarding effects by increasing levels of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) in the brain’s reward center. Treatments that prevent G-CSF signaling in the nucleus accumbens might reduce motivation to use cocaine.

Basic Science

How Cocaine Cues Get Planted in the Brain

An epigenetic mechanism underlies the powerful cocaine–environment associations that promote relapse.

Basic Science

EEG Indicates That Cocaine Relapse Vulnerability Peaks 1 to 6 Months Into Abstinence

Electroencephalography (EEG) may provide an objective measure of cocaine-addicted participants’ vulnerability to cue-induced relapse. The assessment of cue-induced responsiveness may be useful in the clinical setting for assessing relapse risk and tailoring interventions to maintain abstinence among cocaine-addicted adults. 

Basic Science

Why Females Are More Sensitive to Cocaine

New research demonstrates that the hormone estradiol is responsible for females’ increased sensitivity to stimulant drugs.

Narrative of Discovery

Narrative of Discovery: Can Magnets Treat Cocaine Addiction? Part 3

In the final installment of this series, Dr. Diana Martinez navigates the process for receiving NIH funding to test the efficacy of using transcranial magnetic stimulation as treatment for cocaine addiction.

Basic Science

Endocannabinoid Regulates Cocaine Reward

Investigators have shown that 2-AG, an endocannabinoid (i.e., a cannabinoid manufactured within the body, as opposed to plant-derived), augments the cocaine-induced dopamine surge in the brain’s reward system. The discovery adds to evidence that inhibiting activity in the endocannabinoid system might reduce cocaine’s rewarding and addictive effects.

Basic Science

Impacts of Drugs on Neurotransmission

Drugs can alter the way people think, feel, and behave by disrupting neurotransmission, the process of communication between brain cells. This article discusses the central importance of studying drugs’ effects on neurotransmission and describes some of the most common experimental methods used in this research. 

Treatment

Nonmedical Treatment for Cocaine Addiction Shows Promise in Pilot Trial

Patients who received transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) were more likely to abstain from cocaine than patients who received medications for symptoms associated with abstinence. Researchers concluded that TMS appears to be safe and its efficacy as a treatment for cocaine addiction deserves to be evaluated in a larger clinical trial.

Basic Science

Why Do People Lose Control Over Their Cocaine Use?

Researchers monitored the activity of two types of neurons in mice: “urge” neurons, which promote feelings of reward and repeating behaviors that have produced rewards, and “control” neurons, which dampen those feelings and inhibit behavior.

Basic Science

¿Por qué las personas pierden el control sobre su consumo de cocaína?

Los investigadores observaron la actividad de dos tipos de neuronas en ratones: las neuronas de "impulso", que promueven los sentimientos de recompensa y la repetición de los comportamientos dirigidos a repetir las experiencias gratificantes, y las neuronas de "control", que disminuyen estos sentimientos e inhiben esos comportamientos.

Treatment

Slow-Release Amphetamine Medication Benefits Patients With Comorbid Cocaine Addiction and ADHD

Treatment with an extended-release stimulant medication plus cognitive behavioral therapy was associated with reductions in cocaine use and in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in patients with both disorders.

Narrative of Discovery

Narrative of Discovery: Can Magnets Treat Cocaine Addiction? Part 2

During investigations into using transcranial brain stimulation (TMS) to treat cocaine abuse, two projects take diverging paths. One researcher moves to the next stage, while another is forced to cut his trial short. 

Treatment

Testing a Prospective Medication To Help People Avoid Relapse

This NIDA Notes animation depicts a basic experiment that researchers use to test whether a prospective new medication can prevent relapse to drug addiction.

Basic Science

Protein Diminishes Cocaine Reward and Cocaine-Related Learning in Animals

The protein acid-sensing ion channel 1A (ASIC1A) is naturally present in the brain and reduces laboratory animals' attraction to environments in which they have experienced cocaine's effects.

Basic Science

Gene Transfer Therapy for Cocaine Addiction Passes Tests in Animals

Giving mice a modified version of a naturally occurring gene blocks cocaine’s stimulant effects without affecting the animals’ physiological or metabolic health. The new evidence advances the proposed therapy a step closer to readiness for testing in people.

NIDA Notes

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