While there are three medications for opioid addiction treatment, there are no specific medications for meth addiction. A new study showed that the combination of treatment for opioid addiction and an antidepressant has the power to treat meth addiction. Using existing medication already approved by the FDA provides an opportunity for specific addictions to get the treatments they need for more lives to be saved.

Clinical Trial

Much of the country’s attention is focused on opioid addiction which has caused the highest number of fatal overdoses. Stimulant addiction has been on the rise as 19,600 deaths from methamphetamine in 12 months in June 2020. The two drugs used were injectable naltrexone and oral bupropion. The new clinical trial started with more than 400 patients who were regular meth users. In the first stage, patients randomly received either the medications or the placebo. Those who took the placebo who did not respond initially were randomized again and either stayed on the placebo or started the treatments. When the two medications were taken together, 13.6% of the people had negative urine tests out of the four taken at the end of the trial stages compared to the 2.5% of people given placebos.

The Benefits of the Trial

Based on the successful results of this trial, doctors would be able to prescribe drugs that are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration to try to treat meth addiction. This approach could help payers cover the medications. The challenge of using naltrexone for opioid addiction is that people cannot have opioids for several days before getting the injection to avoid the debilitating withdrawal symptoms. Because meth interacts with the brain differently than opioids, people do not have to wait to take the medication.

The Future of the Trial

Some outside experts said they would like to see longer-term data beyond the trial to see the drugs’ lasting results. Addiction psychiatrist Ayana Jordan said she would like to see more information about the different kinds of outcomes. For example, seeing if the treatments are a great improvement for people socially or can help their work performance even if they do not stop the meth entirely. It is important to know that clinicians will not just rely on this medication combination to treat meth addiction but to rely on behavioral therapies as well. Contingency management, which pays people or gives rewards to those who remain abstinent, has been effective as well. This medication combination has the potential to help patients who have a desire to stop using meth. It is very promising to know that medications that are already used for opioid addiction can be used for other addictions as well such as alcohol and tobacco eventually. Treatment is the best course of action for any drug addiction.

Meth addiction has the potential to ruin your health and your life if you do not get it properly treated. Two medications are already FDA-approved that can treat meth addiction when taken together. Here at Alta Loma, we understand how hard it may be to keep your meth addiction under control. Our facility in Georgetown, Texas can provide you with helpful resources for a successful recovery such as individualized therapy, medication management, 12-step programs, therapeutic recreational activities, life coping skills education, and more. Please give us a call at (866) 457-3843 to learn more about our services.