The Efficacy of Lidocaine in Disrupting Cocaine Cue-Induced Memory Reconsolidation

Josh E. Becker, Julianne L. Price, David Leonard, Alina Suris, Enas Kandil, Meredith Shaw, Sven Kroener, E. Sherwood Brown, Bryon Adinoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Rational: Cue-induced craving memories, linked to drug-seeking behaviors, require key molecular processes for memory reconsolidation. Lidocaine, a sodium channel blocker, inhibits NMDA receptor activation and suppresses nitric oxide and ERK production. These processes are required for memory re-consolidation; inhibiting them may reduce cue-related craving memories in cocaine dependent subjects. Objectives: To assess the efficacy of lidocaine in decreasing cue-induced cocaine craving and cocaine use. Methods: Treatment-seeking cocaine-dependent participants (n = 33, 25 men) were recruited. Personalized craving and relaxation scripts were developed. Participants were then randomly assigned in a double-blind design to either receive intravenous lidocaine immediately following a cocaine craving script (lidocaine/craving), saline following a craving script (saline/craving), or lidocaine following a relaxation script (lidocaine/relax). One week following the infusion, cue-induced craving was assessed in the same paradigm without an infusion. Cocaine use and craving were assessed for 4 weeks following infusion. Results: The administration of lidocaine during craving induction (lidocaine/craving) did not decrease cue-induced craving during craving reactivation one week later or craving and cocaine use over the 4-week follow-up period compared to the saline/craving group. There were no significant differences in craving and cocaine use between the lidocaine/relax and saline/craving groups. Conclusion: Lidocaine administered following craving induction did not decrease subsequent cue-induced craving or cocaine use. Blocking the reconsolidation of craving-related memories with pharmacological agents remains an important area of investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108062
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Cocaine
  • Craving
  • Lidocaine
  • Memory reconsolidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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