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West Haven, Connecticut 06516


Concurrent dependence on cocaine occurs in up to 50% of the over one million opiate dependent patients in spite of methadone maintenance treatment being highly effective for opiate dependence and having excellent treatment retention. Cocaine dependence has remained largely unresponsive to medications both in and outside of these methadone programs. We have initial data from our open-label study with levetiracetam showing that this medication is well tolerated and may reduce cocaine use in this cocaine-abusing methadone treated population. The specific aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of levetiracetam 3 grams/day in modifying cocaine-using behavior, reducing cocaine craving and attenuating cocaine's reinforcing effect among methadone-maintained patients. The primary outcomes will be reduction in cocaine use as assessed by self-report and thrice-weekly urinalyses. Secondary outcomes will include weeks in treatment (retention) and change in measures of cocaine craving, anxiety symptoms and opiate withdrawal symptoms.

Study summary:

This 17-week double-blind, placebo controlled randomized pilot clinical trial will provide treatment for 40 cocaine-dependent opioid dependent patients. Participants, aged 18-65 years, will be randomized to receive levetiracetam 3000 mg/day or placebo while concurrently receiving treatment with methadone. Baseline cocaine use will be determined during the first week of treatment participation. (Gossop et al., 1997) The study design will have three overlapping phases that are summarized below: 1) A one week methadone fixed induction (week 1) and flexible methadone stabilization phase (weeks 2-13); 2) an 12-week "treatment" phase (weeks 2-13), consisting of slow titration and stabilization on study medication; and 3) a four week "taper, detoxification or transfer" phase (weeks 13-17). During the first week of induction onto methadone, participants will be administered increasing doses of methadone starting at 30 mg daily and increased up to 60 mg daily by the end of the first week. This methadone dose will be adjusted for stabilization of opiate withdrawal symptoms using a flexible dosing from 40 mg up to 150 mg between weeks 2 to 12. This range has been found to be adequate for the vast majority of patients receiving methadone in our program and is designed to accommodate participants who may not be able to tolerate the higher maintenance doses or may still experience withdrawal symptoms, respectively. We may increase or decrease this amount on a case-by-case basis based on physician assessment of self-reported and observed symptoms. Starting on week 2 subjects will start study medication in one of two randomly assigned experimental groups: levetiracetam 3000 mg /day (active medication) or placebo (inactive medication). Concurrent with the stabilization on methadone, levetiracetam will be increased from 500mg/day on week 2 and this dose will be slowly titrated to a total of 3000mg/day or maximum tolerated dose (MTD). Subjects will remain on their full dosage through week 13. At the end of week 13, participants will undergo detoxification from methadone over a 4-week period (weeks 13-17) and discontinuation from levetiracetam over a concurrent 2-week period. All participants will receive weekly 1-hour of individual psychotherapy (Cognitive Behavioral Treatment) with experienced clinicians specifically trained to deliver the therapy and who will receive ongoing supervision. The primary outcomes will be reduction in cocaine use, as assessed by self-report and thrice-weekly urinalyses. Secondary outcomes will include weeks in treatment (retention), reported medication side effects (medication tolerability), and change in measures of: cocaine craving, anxiety symptoms and opiate withdrawal symptoms. This study will occur at the Outpatient Treatment Research Program in Building 36 at the VA CT Healthcare System.


Inclusion Criteria: - Between the ages of 18-65 years. - Participants must demonstrate current opioid dependence as determined by study physician or APRN, self-reported history of opioid dependence for one year and a positive urine of opiates. Participants may be transferred from other methadone maintenance programs, including the WHVA methadone program. - Participants also must be current users of cocaine with self-reported use of cocaine > 1 time/week in at least one month preceding study entry, cocaine-positive urine screen and score over 3 as assessed with the Severity Dependence Scale. - Women of childbearing age are eligible to be included in the study if they have a negative pregnancy test at screening, agree to adequate contraception to prevent pregnancy, to have monthly pregnancy tests, and they understand the risk of fetal toxicity due to medication and cocaine. Exclusion Criteria: - Current diagnosis of other drug or alcohol dependence (other than opiates, cocaine or tobacco). - Patients with serious medical illness (e.g., major cardiovascular, renal, endocrine, hepatic, and serious neurological disorders including any history of seizures). - Patients with current serious psychiatric illness or history of psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar type I disorder and subjects with suicidal or homicidal thoughts or taking psychotropic medications. - Women who are pregnant, nursing or refuse to use a reliable form of birth control or refuse monthly testing. - Screening liver function tests (SGOT or SGPT) greater than 3 times normal and renal function test (creatinine) greater than 1.5 mg/dl.



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
Gerardo Gonzalez, MD
Yale University

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

West Haven, Connecticut 06516
United States

There is no listed contact information for this specific location.

Site Status: N/A

Data Source: ClinicalTrials.gov

Date Processed: October 09, 2019

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