Citalopram combined with behavioral therapy reduces cocaine use: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

F. Gerard Moeller, Joy M. Schmitz, Joel L. Steinberg, Charles M. Green, Christopher Reist, Lingo Y. Lai, Alan C. Swann, John Grabowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Scopus citations


Cocaine dependence continues to be a significant problem in the United States, without any approved pharmacotherapy. Promising findings from preclinical research on the effects of cocaine on serotonin lead to examination of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as potential treatments for cocaine dependence with mixed results, possibly due to drug interactions or specifics of concomitant behavioral therapy. The purpose of this study was to examine whether the SSRI citalopram would reduce cocaine positive urines in a 12-week, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Seventy-six cocaine dependent patients received either citalopram 20 mg per day or placebo along with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM). Citalopram treated subjects showed a significant reduction in cocaine-positive urines during treatment compared to placebo treated subjects. No differences were noted in retention between the two groups. Side effects reported for citalopram were mild, with none leading to discontinuation of study drug. Results of this study support further examination of citalopram in combination with behavioral therapy as a treatment for cocaine dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-378
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2007



  • Behavioral therapy
  • Citalopram
  • Cocaine dependence
  • Contingency management
  • Serotonin
  • Treatment

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