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Proposed addiction treatment successful, safe in second small trial

ication in the U.S., in part because some epilepsy patients who have taken cumulative doses in excess of 1500 grams have experienced a reduction in their field of vision. The current study was designed to look for such visual side effects while testing the efficacy of a relatively low GVG dose.

In response to word-of-mouth and newspaper-ad recruitment, 30 patients enrolled in the study. All had abused methamphetamine and/or cocaine daily for a mean duration of 12 years. The experimental design was "open-label," that is, the subjects knew they were getting GVG, an experimental treatment for drug addiction. During the first two weeks, they were given increasing doses to a maximum of three grams per day, and then maintained on that dose for 28 days before tapering back to zero over the final three weeks.

They were treated as outpatients, returning each day to their normal home environments, subject to all the environmental "triggers" for their addictive behavior. Twice weekly they gave urine samples, which were tested for cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin, and alcohol. Visual tests were performed on all 30 subjects prior to, during, and after completion of the trial.

Of the 30 volunteers, 11 dropped out in the first four weeks. One subject completed eight weeks and 18 stayed in the study for the nine-week duration. Of those 18, 16 were methamphetamine- and cocaine-free for more than four consecutive weeks while two continued using but in reduced amounts. 12 of the 16 remained free of methamphetamine and cocaine through the end of the study. No subject, whether they completed the trial or not, developed defects in visual fields or acuity. "Due to the open-label nature of this study and the lack of a control group, we cannot conclude that these subjects' ability to abstain from drug use was a direct result of being given GVG. However, in a group of heavy users where none had stayed 'clean' for more than several consecutive days in
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Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
kmcnulty@bnl.gov
631-344-8350
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
15-Nov-2004


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