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Combination Drug Therapy For Methamphetamine Addiction

Over the last 20 years, the United States has been in the middle of a massive opioid epidemic. Nearly 500,000 people have died due to opioid overdose during this span, and the death toll continues to rise. As a result, new laws, safety measures, and treatment programs have been created to combat this epidemic. However, while public awareness has been focused on opioids, another epidemic has been looming in the background; methamphetamine use.

Methamphetamine Use in the United States

Methamphetamine use has been on the rise since 2005, with a resurgence from 2015 to 2018. Meth is now one of the most widely abused illicit drugs in the United States. It is cheap and easily made in clandestine labs across the country. Unlike opioids, methamphetamine is rarely used pharmacologically. It has limited uses and is rarely prescribed, but it can be prescribed for either ADHD or short-term weight loss. A Schedule II stimulant, Desoxyn, is legally only available through a non-refillable prescription.

How Does Methamphetamine Work?

Methamphetamine, or “meth,” is a central nervous system stimulant that increases the activity of the CNS and increases body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. When the drug is taken, it causes increased energy, focus, and excitement. Meth also produces an intense euphoria and feeling of pleasure due to releasing a flood of dopamine from the brain when it is ingested. Some of the other side-effects include decreased appetite and a decreased need for sleep.  

Combination Drug Therapy For Overcome Methamphetamine Addiction

Like opioid overdose, methamphetamine overdoses have soared in the US. Fortunately, there are approved medications to treat opioid addiction, but what about methamphetamines? In new studies, researchers have found a combination drug therapy that may effectively treat meth addiction. The National Institutes of Health “Combination therapy for methamphetamine use disorder” says:

Researchers have begun testing drugs approved for other substance use disorders to treat people with methamphetamine addiction. Examples include naltrexone—which is used for the treatment of opioid use disorder—and bupropion, which helps people quit smoking. Both treatments have shown some effectiveness when used alone to treat methamphetamine addiction. A research team led by Dr. Madhukar Trivedi at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center launched a clinical trial to see if a combination of the two might help more people quit. The researchers found that people receiving the two drugs were more likely to respond to treatment. Response was defined as having at least three out of four urine samples taken during the study testing negative for methamphetamine. (NIH)

The study showed that the number of people who could quit using meth was relatively modest using the two drugs. Researchers say combining the two medications (bupropion and naltrexone) with behavioral therapy would probably prove to be more effective. As with any medication-assisted treatment, it takes a combination of medication and counseling/therapy sessions.  The United States has been well made aware of the number of deaths we have and are experiencing due to opioids. The number of overdose deaths due to methamphetamine and other stimulants has been less recognized. Nevertheless, there is hope now for those struggling with a methamphetamine use disorder. 

Why Turn to Evoke Wellness for Help to Break Meth Misuse?

Evoke Wellness at Cohasset offers evidence-based methamphetamine treatment to cater to the individual needs of each patient. Our solution-focused treatment provides men, women, and families integrated and comprehensive care geared towards leading you on the road to long-lasting recovery. If you are having issues with methamphetamine or any other substance, let us help you. Our specialists and professionals are highly qualified and supportive and will help you start your recovery journey today.