Aripiprazole to Treat Cocaine Addiction?
Cocaine use directly impacts the central nervous system. Dopamine, a main chemical in the brain, is responsible for emotions, movements, and sensations. When cocaine is used dopamine is overproduced by an artificial conductor. When addicts feel depressed after using cocaine it is because their brain has depleted dopamine and needs time to begin naturally generating this chemical. Addicts will continue using cocaine because the depressed/anxious mood is overwhelming during the time it takes to begin producing dopamine again. Researchers are always exploring new drugs to combat stimulant addiction. The common antipsychotic medication Aripiprazole is the next candidate to treat cocaine addiction. Aripiprazole is typically used to treat schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. Both of these disorders have depressive symptoms and imbalances in dopamine, which Aripiprazole treats. One study was done using 46 cocaine addicts over a 6 month period of taking this medication. Researchers proposed that Aripiprazole will block cocaine cravings, impulsivity and improve overall function. Findings concluded that there was a significant positive impact on the cocaine addicts and they were able to remain abstinent. It is important to note that the addicts also received psychotherapy during this time. It seems that this medication will balance dopamine levels within the individual, decreasing the desire to use cocaine.