Abstract Title:

Antidepressant drugs appear to enhance cocaine-induced toxicity.

Abstract Source:

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2000 Feb;8(1):133-41. PMID: 10743914

Abstract Author(s):

L E O'Dell, F R George, M C Ritz

Article Affiliation:

Amethyst Technologies, Inc. Scottsdale, Arizona 85257-3773, USA.


It has been shown that cocaine-induced convulsions and lethality appear to be mediated by serotonin and dopamine neurotransmission, respectively. However, many antidepressants considered for treatment of cocaine addiction target these monoamine systems and may thus amplify these toxic effects during relapse. In this study, the authors assessed whether pretreatment with antidepressants influences cocaine-induced toxicity in mice as well as the potency of these medications at cocaine-binding sites previously shown to be associated with cocaine toxicity. Overall, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) facilitated cocaine-induced convulsions but not lethality. Dopamine uptake inhibition facilitated cocaine-induced lethality, but not convulsion. The SSRI sertraline enhanced neither convulsions nor lethality and may be unique due to its high affinity for sigma receptors. These results have important implications for safe and effective addiction treatments.

Study Type : Review

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