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Using Vigabatrin for Cocaine Withdrawal and Cravings

In some instances, medications are used to treat addictions, such as replacing heroin or prescription opioid pain relievers with opioid agonist and antagonist drugs.

Most treatment drugs are used to alleviate the symptoms that appear during withdrawal and thereby make the detox process easier. This often leads to improved treatment outcomes, a greater likelihood of the person remaining in rehab, and a stronger resistance to relapse.

Managing cocaine addiction with vigabatrin helps reduce cravings for cocaine and makes recovery more feasible for those suffering from addictions. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that 13 percent of all admissions to treatment centers in America in 2007 were for cocaine abuse.

Usage & Side Effects

Individuals in treatment for stimulant addictions are usually given 500 mg of vigabatrin two times a day. The oral dose has a half-life of 5-8 hours in young adults and 12-13 hours in the elderly. Side effects of the drug can include:

  • Vision changes
  • Tremors
  • Shortness of breath
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Problems focusing
  • Mood instability
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Irritable mood
  • Dizziness
  • Memory issues
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Joint pain and discomfort
  • Weight gain

Vision changes are some of the more common side effects of this drug, which can mean permanent changes in visual structure and ability. That being said, some studies on the potential for visual impairment in individuals being treated with vigabatrin for an addiction to stimulants like cocaine showed no negative results, per the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Medline Plus notes that across clinical studies, around one in 500 people developed suicidal thoughts when taking the drug.


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Last Updated on December 21, 2021
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