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Epilepsy medication may be able to treat cocaine dependence

According to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, topiramate, an epilepsy and migraine medication, has been shown to effectively treat cocaine dependence. The analysis, conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Maryland, is one of the first to find a pharmacological treatment for cocaine addiction. Topiramate was also found in a previous study to be helpful in battling alcoholism.

In the trial, 142 individuals already seeking treatment for cocaine addiction were randomly assigned to a topiramate group or a placebo group. The subjects who used the medication were found to have decreased cravings for cocaine. They were also more likely to have had entire weeks in which they did not abuse the substance. 

"Our findings reveal that topiramate is a safe and robustly efficacious medicine for the treatment of cocaine dependence, and has the potential to make a major contribution to the global health crisis of addiction," said Dr. Bankole Johnson, the study's lead investigator in a press release. "However […] higher doses of the drug can increase the risk of side effects. Therefore, caution must be exercised when prescribing the drug, especially when given in high doses."

While this research is promising, Dr. Bankole's warning about the overuse of topiramate shows that it is not a cure-all remedy. Treating drug addiction involves not just medication, but counseling, family support and the willingness of the addict to change. 

If you are attempting to help someone with cocaine addiction, you don't have to do it alone. Contact Intervention Services today to find out how a cocaine intervention can be the first step on the path of your loved one's recovery.

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