Factors associated with the absence of cocaine craving in treatment-seeking individuals during inpatient cocaine detoxification

Jose Pérez de los Cobos, Saul Alcaraz, Antonio Verdejo-García, Laura Muñoz, Núria Siñol, Maria José Fernández-Serrano, Pilar Fernández, Ana Martínez, Santiago Duran-Sindreu, Francesca Batlle, Joan Trujols

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Background: Anecdotal evidence suggests a substantial proportion of individuals with cocaine use disorder do not report craving during inpatient detoxification. Objective: To examine prevalence and clinical correlates of consistent absence of cocaine craving among inpatients during detoxification. We hypothesized that craving absence would be associated with less severity of cocaine use, depression, and anxiety. Alternative explanations were also explored. Methods: Craving absence (i.e., non-cravers) was defined as a daily score of zero across two separate craving visual analogue scales in each of the inpatient days. Participants scoring ≥1 on ≥1 day were considered cravers. Severity of cocaine use disorder as well as in-treatment depression and anxiety were assessed. Alternative contributors included presence of cocaine and other substances in urine at admission, in-treatment prescription of psychotropic medications, treatment motivation, executive function, interoception, and social desirability. Results: Eighty-seven participants (78.2% males) met criteria as either non-cravers (n = 29; 33.3%) or cravers (n = 58; 66.7%). Mean length of admission in non-cravers and cravers was, respectively, 10.83 and 13.16 days. Binary logistic regression model showed that non-cravers scored significantly lower than cravers on cocaine use during last month before treatment (OR, 95% CI; 0.902, 0.839–0.970), in-treatment depression (OR, 95% CI; 0.794, 0.659–0.956), and in-treatment prescribing of antipsychotics (OR, 95% CI; 0.109, 0.014–0.823). Model prediction accuracy was 88.9%. Conclusions: One in three patients undergoing inpatient detoxification experienced absence of craving, linked to less pretreatment cocaine use, better mood, and decreased administration of antipsychotics. Findings may inform pretreatment strategies and improve treatment cost-effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • antipsychotics
  • Cocaine
  • craving course
  • depression
  • urge
  • withdrawal

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