Skip Navigation

Link to  the National Institutes of Health  
The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Archives of the National Institute on Drug Abuse web site
Go to the Home page

National Institute on Drug Abuse -  NIDA NOTES
Research Findings
Volume 16, Number 1 (March, 2001)

Large Study Expands Probe of Disulfiram's Effects on Cocaine Use

Dr. Richard Schottenfeld of Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, has begun enrolling patients in a clinical trial that is large enough to establish more definitively than previous studies whether disulfiram reduces cocaine abuse in opiate-addicted patients being treated with buprenorphine. About 180 patients are expected to participate in the trial.

"We want to get more people abstinent from cocaine and see them stay that way while they are on the medication," Dr. Schottenfeld says. "We're also doing some genetic subtyping to see if we can get more data on whether disulfiram reduces cocaine use by blocking the enzyme called dopamine-b-hydroxylase (DBH) that metabolizes dopamine," he says. "If disulfiram is working this way, it should work best in the people who already have low DBH activity because of their genetic makeup. If such a gene-medication interaction occurs, it will give us important information about who is going to respond better to the medication or even what the proper dose should be."

Getting this additional genetic information won't prove that disulfiram is working to reduce cocaine use through DBH, Dr. Schottenfeld emphasizes. "It will help us to better understand the mechanism through which this medication works," he says. "While disulfiram is great in a lot of ways, it affects many systems and we may run into unwanted side effects with it. So, if we find more evidence that it works through this DBH mechanism, maybe ultimately we can find a medication to target that mechanism more directly."

NIDA NOTES - Volume 16, Number 1

[NIDA NOTES Index][Index of this Issue]

Archive Home | Accessibility | Privacy | FOIA (NIH) | Current NIDA Home Page
National Institutes of Health logo_Department of Health and Human Services Logo The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) , a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Questions? See our Contact Information. . The U.S. government's official web portal