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Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England)

Effects of levodopa-carbidopa-entacapone and smoked cocaine on facial affect recognition in cocaine smokers.


PMID 26921145

Abstract

In addition to difficulties in daily social functioning, regular cocaine users have decrements in social processing (the cognitive and affective processes underlying social behavior) relative to non-users. Little is known, however, about the effects of clinically-relevant pharmacological agents, such as cocaine and potential treatment medications, on social processing in cocaine users. Such drug effects could potentially alleviate or compound baseline social processing decrements in cocaine abusers. Here, we assessed the individual and combined effects of smoked cocaine and a potential treatment medication, levodopa-carbidopa-entacapone (LCE), on facial emotion recognition in cocaine smokers. Healthy non-treatment-seeking cocaine smokers (N = 14; two female) completed this 11-day inpatient within-subjects study. Participants received LCE (titrated to 400mg/100mg/200mg b.i.d.) for five days with the remaining time on placebo. The order of medication administration was counterbalanced. Facial emotion recognition was measured twice during target LCE dosing and twice on placebo: once without cocaine and once after repeated cocaine doses. LCE increased the response threshold for identification of facial fear, biasing responses away from fear identification. Cocaine had no effect on facial emotion recognition. Results highlight the possibility for candidate pharmacotherapies to have unintended impacts on social processing in cocaine users, potentially exacerbating already existing difficulties in this population.

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