Effects of Isradipine on Cocaine-Induced Subjective Mood

Bankole A. Johnson, John D. Roache, Nassima Ait-Daoud, Lynda T. Wells, James B. Mauldin, Robert H. Cormier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that in humans, as in animals, isradipine, a dihydropyridine-class calcium channel antagonist, would antagonize cocaine's rewarding effects, based on preclinical evidence that isradipine inhibits cocaine-mediated increases in mesolimbic dopamine (DA), thereby reducing cocaine's abuse liability. Confirmation of our hypothesis would make isradipine a promising medication for treating cocaine dependence. Eighteen male and female volunteers (mean age, 32.6 years) who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for cocaine dependence participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Subjects received placebo or sustained-release (SR) low-dose or high-dose isradipine (15 or 30 mg), plus placebo or low-dose or high-dose cocaine HCl (0.325 or 0.650 mg/kg), for 9 treatment sessions separated by a 2-day interval. Standardized assessments of abuse liability, including a choice procedure to determine preference for cocaine with and without isradipine over monetary incentives, were conducted at scheduled intervals. Cocaine administration produced dose-related prototypic increases in stimulant-related effects, including euphoria, and drug preference over monetary incentives. Isradipine lacked any stimulant or abuse liability effects or the propensity to elicit craving, and it did not antagonize any of cocaine's stimulant-related effects associated with its abuse liability. In conclusion, SR isradipine (up to 30 mg) does not antagonize cocaine's rewarding effects in cocaine-dependent individuals. While higher isradipine doses may have been more effective at antagonizing cocaine reward, we could not test such doses due to the risk of serious adverse events. Also, isradipine-mediated inhibition of mesolimbic DA release may be an ineffective treatment of cocaine dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-191
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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