Evaluation of the “pipeline” for development of medications for cocaine use disorder: A review of translational preclinical, human laboratory, and clinical trial research

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Cocaine use disorder is a persistent public health problem for which no widely effective medications exist. Self-administration procedures,which have shown good predictive validity in estimating the abuse potential of drugs, have been used in rodent, nonhuman primate, and human laboratory studies to screen putative medications. This review assessed the effectiveness of the medications development process regarding pharmacotherapies for cocaine use disorder. The primary objective was to determine whether data from animal and human laboratory self-administration studies predicted the results of clinical trials. Inaddition, the concordance between laboratory studies in animals and humans was assessed. More than 100 blinded, randomized, fully placebo-controlled studies of putative medications for cocaine use disorder were identified. Of the 64 drugs tested in these trials, only 10 had been examined in both human and well-controlled animal laboratory studies. Within all three stages, few studies had been conducted for each drug and when multiple studies had been conducted conclusions were sometimes contradictory. Overall, however, there was good concordance between animal and human laboratory results when the former assessed chronic drug treatment. Although only seven of the ten reviewed drugs showed fully concordant results across all three types of studies reviewed, the analysis revealed several subject-related, procedural, and environmental factors that differ between the laboratory and clinical trial settings that help explain the disagreement for other drugs. The review closes with several recommendations to enhance translation and communication across stages of the medications development process that will ultimately speed the progress toward effective pharmacotherapeutic strategies for cocaine use disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-562
Number of pages30
JournalPharmacological Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse [Grants R21DA034095, R21DA035376, R01DA036553, R01DA032254, R01DA036827,P50DA06634, R37DA10584, R01DA017763].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of the “pipeline” for development of medications for cocaine use disorder: A review of translational preclinical, human laboratory, and clinical trial research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this