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Health Agencies Update
May 16, 2001

Easing Cocaine Withdrawal

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JAMA. 2001;285(19):2439. doi:10.1001/jama.285.19.2439

Propranolol, long used to treat high blood pressure, reduced cocaine withdrawal symptoms in a recent double-blinded trial. The drug, a β-blocker, appears to work by reducing symptoms of anxiety, common manifestations of withdrawal.

The researchers, who were supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, suggest that propranolol could help patients during the first critical weeks of recovery (Drug Alcohol Depend. 2001;63:69-78). In many treatment programs, the dropout rate during the first month is 50% or higher.