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Treatment of cannabis dependence using escitalopram in combination with cognitive-behavior therapy: a double-blind placebo-controlled study

Affiliation

  • 1 Psychiatric Department and.
  • PMID: 24359507
  • DOI: 10.3109/00952990.2013.819362

Treatment of cannabis dependence using escitalopram in combination with cognitive-behavior therapy: a double-blind placebo-controlled study

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Authors

Affiliation

  • 1 Psychiatric Department and.
  • PMID: 24359507
  • DOI: 10.3109/00952990.2013.819362

Abstract

Background: Cannabis is the most frequently used illegal substance in the United States and Europe. There is a dramatic increase in the demand for treatment for cannabis dependence. Cannabis users frequently have co-morbid mood symptoms, especially depression and anxiety, and regular cannabis users may self-medicate for such symptoms.

Objectives: We report a double-blind, placebo-controlled treatment study, for the prevention of cannabis use in cannabis-dependent individuals.

Method: Regular cannabis-dependent users (n = 52) were treated for 9 weeks with weekly cognitive-behavior and motivation-enhancement therapy sessions together with escitalopram 10 mg/day. Urine samples were collected to monitor delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) during treatment and questionnaires were administered to assess anxiety and depression.

Results: We observed a high rate of dropout (50%) during the 9-week treatment program. Fifty-two patients were included in the intention-to-treat analysis. Of these, ten (19%) remained abstinent after 9 weeks of treatment as indicated by negative urine samples for THC. Escitalopram provided no advantage over placebo in either abstinence rates from cannabis or anxiety and depression scores during the withdrawal and abstinent periods.

Conclusions: Escitalopram treatment does not provide an additional benefit either for achieving abstinence, or for the treatment of the cannabis withdrawal syndrome. Due to limitations of our study, namely, a high dropout rate and effects of low abstinence rates on measures of anxiety, depression and withdrawal, it is premature to conclude that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are not effective for treatment of the cannabis withdrawal syndrome.

Escitalopram treatment does not provide an additional benefit either for achieving abstinence, or for the treatment of the cannabis withdrawal syndrome. Due to limitations of our study, namely, a high dropout rate and effects of low abstinence rates on measures of anxiety, depression and withdrawal, …

Drug Interactions between cannabis and Lexapro

This report displays the potential drug interactions for the following 2 drugs:

  • cannabis
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)

Interactions between your drugs

cannabis (Schedule I substance)

Applies to: cannabis and Lexapro (escitalopram)

Using cannabis (Schedule I substance) together with escitalopram may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Drug and food interactions

cannabis (Schedule I substance)

Applies to: cannabis

Alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of cannabis (Schedule I substance) such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with cannabis (Schedule I substance). Do not use more than the recommended dose of cannabis (Schedule I substance), and avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medication affects you. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

escitalopram

Applies to: Lexapro (escitalopram)

Alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of escitalopram such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with escitalopram. Do not use more than the recommended dose of escitalopram, and avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medication affects you. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

Therapeutic duplication warnings

No warnings were found for your selected drugs.

Therapeutic duplication warnings are only returned when drugs within the same group exceed the recommended therapeutic duplication maximum.

See Also

  • Cannabis Drug Interactions
  • Lexapro Drug Interactions
  • Lexapro General Consumer Information
  • Drug Interactions Checker
Drug Interaction Classification
These classifications are only a guideline. The relevance of a particular drug interaction to a specific individual is difficult to determine. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication.

Major Highly clinically significant. Avoid combinations; the risk of the interaction outweighs the benefit.
Moderate Moderately clinically significant. Usually avoid combinations; use it only under special circumstances.
Minor Minimally clinically significant. Minimize risk; assess risk and consider an alternative drug, take steps to circumvent the interaction risk and/or institute a monitoring plan.
Unknown No interaction information available.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some mixtures of medications can lead to serious and even fatal consequences.

A Moderate Drug Interaction exists between cannabis and Lexapro. View detailed information regarding this drug interaction.