Effect of flupenthixol on subjective and cardiovascular responses to intravenous cocaine in humans

Suzette M. Evans, Sharon L. Walsh, Frances R. Levin, Richard W. Foltin, Marian W. Fischman, George E. Bigelow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The effects of oral flupenthixol and intramuscular (i.m.) flupenthixol decanoate in combination with intravenous (i.v.) cocaine were evaluated in male cocaine abusers. Participants resided at an inpatient research unit for 27 days followed by an 11-day outpatient period. Oral flupenthixol (2.5 or 5.0 mg; p.o.) followed by flupenthixol decanoate (10 or 20 mg; i.m.) and placebo were investigated in individuals who were randomly assigned to one of three groups under double-blind conditions (placebo, low or high dose flupenthixol). During the inpatient period, participants had four fixed cocaine dosing sessions; each session they were administered four doses of i.v. cocaine (approx. 48 mg/70 kg), spaced 14 min apart. These sessions occurred once before medication (baseline phase), once following oral medication (oral phase), and twice following intramuscular medication (IM phase). Out of 23 participants, 18 completed the study; 4 of the 5 non-completers were in the high dose flupenthixol group. Overall, there were few subjective, cardiovascular, or cocaine pharmacokinetic differences between the placebo group and the low dose flupenthixol group, indicating that the low dose of flupenthixol was well tolerated, but ineffective. In the high dose flupenthixol group, two out of seven individuals (29%) experienced a dystonic reaction following oral flupenthixol and were medically discharged. Taken together, these findings indicate that flupenthixol is not a good candidate for treating cocaine abusers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-283
Number of pages13
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was sponsored and supported by Pfizer, Inc. Participants in New York resided on the Irving Center for Clinical Research of The Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center supported by Grant No. MOI-RR-00645 from the National Institutes of Health. The assistance of Keith Harper, Lisa Notes, Jane Garner, Shirley Podgurski, L.P.N., Ingrid Christiansen, R.N. and Lorraine Kemp, R.N. is gratefully acknowledged.


  • Cardiovascular effects
  • Cocaine
  • Flupenthixol
  • Pharmacokinetic effects
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Subjective effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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