Providence, RI—While combining the drug topiramate with psychological counseling reduced marijuana use among young smokers significantly more than did counseling alone, a recent small randomized, controlled trial came with a big negative—more than half of participants in the intervention group dropped out because of the medication’s side effects. The study led by Brown University researchers found that study participants who received the medication as well as counseling used less marijuana each time, on average, than participants who got counseling and a placebo. More than 66 volunteers aged 15 to 24 years who smoked marijuana at least twice weekly began with the study, but, by the end of 6 weeks, 21 of the 40 subjects receiving the drug had dropped out compared to only six of the 26 participants on the placebo. Most complained of side effects such as depression, anxiety, trouble with coordination and balance, weight loss, and unusual sensations.

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