From Medical Xpress:

Targeted magnetic pulses to the brain were shown to reduce craving and substance use in cocaine-addicted patients. The results of this pilot study, published in the peer-reviewed journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, suggest that this may become an effective medical treatment for patients with cocaine addiction, although a larger trial is needed to confirm the initial findings.

Cocaine use is widespread in the Western World. Last year, 2.3 million young Europeans (aged 15 to 34) used cocaine, and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 1.4 million Americans suffer from cocaine addiction1. There is no effective drug treatment for cocaine addiction, with behavioural therapies being the main element of any treatment regime. Now a group of researchers working in Italy and the USA have shown in a preliminary clinical study that cocaine use can be reduced by treatment with rTMS (repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation).

As author, Dr Antonello Bonci (Scientific Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Adjunct Professor, John Hopkins University, Baltimore) said:

“Despite the fact that more than 20 million people worldwide suffer from cocaine use disorders2, there are no effective neurobiological treatments for patients with this devastating condition”.

The practical work was conducted by team of scientists led by Dr Luigi Gallimberti, from the University of Padova Medical School, Italy, who enrolled 32 patients who were seeking treatment for cocaine addiction at the hospital clinic. The participating patients were randomized to receive either rTMS or standard symptom-relieving medications.

The experimental group received one rTMS session per…

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