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Original Article
September 2002

A Comparison of Contingency Management and Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches During Methadone Maintenance Treatment for Cocaine Dependence

Author Affiliations

From the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, University of California, Los Angeles (Drs Rawson, Farabee, Reiber, and Ling), the Friends Research Institute (Drs Huber and Shoptaw), and the Matrix Institute on Addiction (Mr McCann), Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59(9):817-824. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.59.9.817

Background  This study compared 2 psychosocial approaches for the treatment of cocaine dependence: contingency management (CM) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Methods  Patients with cocaine dependence who were receiving methadone maintenance treatment (n = 120) were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions: CM, CBT, combined CM and CBT (CBT + CM), or treatment as usual (ie, methadone maintenance treatment program only [MMTP only]) (n = 30 per cell). The CM procedures and CBT materials were comparable to those used in previously published research. The active study period was 16 weeks, requiring 3 clinic visits per week. Participants were evaluated during treatment and at 17, 26, and 52 weeks after admission.

Results  Urinalysis results during the 16-week treatment period show that participants assigned to the 2 groups featuring CM had significantly superior in-treatment urinalysis results, whereas urinalysis results from participants in the CBT group were not significantly different than those from the MMTP-only group. At week 17, self-reported days of cocaine use were significantly reduced from baseline levels for all 3 treatment groups but not for the MMTP-only group. At the 26-week and 52-week follow-up points, CBT participants showed substantial improvement, resulting in equivalent performance with the CM groups as indicated by both urinalysis and self-reported cocaine use data.

Conclusions  Study findings provide solid evidence of efficacy for CM and CBT. Although the effect of CM is significantly greater during treatment, CBT appears to produce comparable long-term outcomes. There was no evidence of an additive effect for the 2 treatments in the CM + CBT group.