November 1992

Desipramine Treatment of Cocaine Dependence in Methadone-Maintained Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Studies of Addiction at the Philadelphia (Pa) Veterans Administration Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1992;49(11):888-893. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820110052008

• We performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized 12-week trial of desipramine hydrochloride treatment of cocaine dependence among methadonemaintained patients. Fifty-nine patients completed the 12-week medication trial (36 received desipramine and 23 received placebo), and 94% were recontacted 1, 3, and 6 months after treatment. There were significantly more dropouts in the desipramine than in the placebo group. Baseline to 12-week comparisons of Addiction Severity Index interview data indicated that both groups showed improvements. At 12 weeks, the desipramine group showed significantly better psychiatric status than the placebo group but did not differ from the placebo group on any of 21 other outcome measures, including cocaine use. During the 12-week medication phase and at the 1-month follow-up evaluation, urine toxicology screenings showed no significant difference between groups, but the placebo group had significantly less cocaine use at both the 3- and 6-month follow-up points. We conclude that desipramine has few benefits with regard to control of cocaine use in this population.