Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo- and Active Comparator–Controlled Crossover Study Evaluating the Abuse Potential of the Antiepileptic Drug Lacosamide in Healthy Recreational Drug Users

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PurposeThis phase 1, randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active comparator–controlled crossover study assessed the abuse potential of the antiepileptic drug, lacosamide.MethodsAfter a qualification phase, 38 healthy, recreational central nervous system–depressant users were randomized to treatment sequences comprising single oral therapeutic (200 mg) and supratherapeutic (800 mg) doses of lacosamide, alprazolam (1.5 and 3 mg), and placebo. Subjective effects were assessed for 24 hours following each dose using a range of scales, with a 5- to 9-day washout between treatments.FindingsMean subjective effects for 200 mg lacosamide were statistically similar to placebo and significantly lower than with alprazolam for most end points. Lacosamide 800 mg elicited transient, statistically significant positive effects compared with placebo, but also persistent Bad Drug Effects including statistically greater maximum effect (Emax) scores for Nausea and Dysphoria compared with other treatments (P < 0.0002). Consistent with this, the 800 mg lacosamide dose showed a significantly lower “at this moment” Drug Liking visual analog scale (VAS) Emax compared with 3 mg alprazolam, but was not different from 1.5 mg alprazolam (73.1/100, 85.4/100, and 78.9/100, respectively, where 50 is neutral). Overall Drug Liking VAS and Take Drug Again VAS Emax for 800 mg lacosamide were not significantly different from placebo and were lower than those for both alprazolam doses (P < 0.0001).ImplicationsThese results suggest that in recreational central nervous system–depressant users, lacosamide has detectable abuse-related subjective effects, but a relatively low potential for abuse compared with alprazolam. These findings contributed toward placement of lacosamide into Schedule V of the US Controlled Substances Act.

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