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Cocaine Addiction Help with Propranolol? A Solution That May Be Worse Than the Problem.

Wow. Sometimes I wonder if the people who come up with drugs to help combat drug addiction aren’t taking drugs themselves. First there was methadone, an unprecedented failure. Then several others were suggested. Now, we have the latest – a drug known as Propranolol that allegedly helps combat cocaine addiction by preventing the addict from being able to recall cocaine-related memories. The idea being that if you can’t remember how good it felt to be on cocaine, then you wouldn’t want it anymore. Anyone who knows anything about real addiction help, knows that this is not the answer.

But Propranolol is not simply going to fail; it could also cause serious medical problems. For example, here’s a list of the side effects of Propranolol.

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • vision changes
  • trouble sleeping
  • ‘unusual’ dreams
  • may reduce blood flow to your hands and feet, causing them to feel cold. Warnings say that smoking tobacco may worsen this effect and caution users to dress warmly and avoid tobacco use.
  • shortness of breath
  • blue fingers and toes
  • swelling of the ankles and feet
  • mental or mood changes like depression
  • numbness and/or tingling of arms and/or legs
  • very slow heartbeat
  • fainting
  • decreased sexual ability
  • unexplained or sudden weight gain
  • increased thirst and/or urination
  • easy bruising or bleeding
  • signs of infection like fever or persistent sore throat)
  • aching/swollen joints
  • rash
  • itching or swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
  • severe dizziness
  • trouble breathing

The manufacturers make it clear that the above is not a complete list of side effects – you know, anything could happen, they’re just not sure.

Also, people who take Propranolol are warned that if you stop taking the drug without first consulting your doctor and having the doctor oversee your withdrawal, you may also experience chest pain (angina) or heart disease of various sorts and high blood pressure.

You are also advised to temporarily stop physical activity when you stop taking the drug because you might strain your heart. And you should see a doctor immediately if you have worsening chest pain, tightness or pressure in the chest, chest pain spreading to the jaw, neck, or arm, unusual sweating, trouble breathing, or if you have a fast or irregular heartbeat.

Surely anyone reading that list would prefer addiction help services that actually get the person off the drug.

A successful drug rehab program includes:

  • Getting the person withdrawn from cocaine safely.
  • Discovering and addressing the issues that caused the person to get into drugs in the first place.
  • Improving overall health and getting rid of the debilitating effects drug use has had on the body.
  • Assessing the person’s home environment and lifestyle – and everything that goes with it – to determine what will be needed to resist temptation if it comes along.
  • An available counselor that will help the person re-integrate into society and remain drug-free.

They come out of it happier, healthier, free of drugs, able to get back to leading a productive life – no comparison to what happens when taking Propranolol.

According to the study on Propranolol, done on mice, about 80 percent of people trying to quit cocaine relapse within six months. Why? Certainly it’s not because of Propranolol deficiency, and it’s not because they remembered how good it felt to be on cocaine or any other drug.

Relapse is primarily caused by doing a drug rehab program that does not do all the steps above. In fact, that’s what drug addicts need to really be able to change their lives.

To think that all it would take is another drug – and a dangerous one at that – is foolhardy. Don’t fall for it. If you know of someone with a cocaine problem, get them into drug rehab. And if they’ve already been in drug rehab, look for a better program. A long-term residential program that really does address all the elements of drug addiction.

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