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Meth Related Research

Advances in Treating Meth Psychosis

Many medical and treatment personnel are familiar with Meth induced psychosis.  It often resolves spontaneously when patients become abstinent, but over 25% of patients have psychotic symptoms lasting more than 6 months. Those symptoms may resemble primary psychotic disorders but the standard treatment falls short.
A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry [Jan. 2010] examines a clinical case where a patient suffering long-term Meth psychosis found no relief with antipsychotic medication but responded quickly to electroconvulsive therapy - also known as ECT or Shock Treatment.

View the abstract of the article here

Meth Alters Dopamine System; May Make Addiction Harder to Beat

Researchers at the University of Washington found that animal studies show Methamphetamine use causes lasting changes in the brain's dopamine system, making it especially difficult for users to stop using the drug.  According to their results, long-term Meth use depressed the dopamine-release system in the brain. Researchers say Meth appears to cause long-term changes in certain dopamine receptors and with a specific neurotransmitter.  They hope to use the findings to better explore and understand the unique properties of Meth addiction.
The research was supported by several grants, including two from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Seattle Children's Hospital and the Center for Human Development and Disability at the UW. The project included researchers with Columbia University, the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and the University of California at Los Angeles.  The findings were published in the April 10, 2008 issue of the journal Neuron.  You may access the full article, with an explanation of procedures and references, here.

A general interest, non-technical article highlighting the study was published online by Science Daily Ė you may access that piece here.

Antidepressant Use May Thwart Meth Recovery

Published in NIDA Notes Volume 21, Number 5 March 2008

In a recent NIDA-funded study, the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft) made quitting Methamphetamine harder. Prescribed to relieve depression during the Meth withdrawal process, sertraline produced a number of unpleasant side effects and may have interfered with behavioral interventions as well.

Researchers at UCLA found that treatment with sertraline did not relieve the depression associated with Meth withdrawal or decrease the drugís use, and its side effects reduced the amount of time participants spent in treatment. Those who took sertraline also seemed to benefit less from behavioral interventions, and the researchers speculated that this might be due to the dampening effect of the medication since they had excluded all other possible factors in the statistical analysis.

Treatment professionals and researchers continue to search for ways to help Meth abusers and addicts cope with the powerful withdrawal symptoms. 

Read the NIDA Notes article online
Abstract of the original study (Shoptaw, S., et al. Randomized, placebo-controlled trial of sertraline and contingency management for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 85(1):12-18, 2006.)

Fast Track Approved for
Anti-Craving Drug

May Help Fight Meth Dependence

Vigabatrin, an anticonvulsive drug marketed by Ovation Pharmaceuticals, has been 'fast-tracked' by the Food and Drug Administration and could become the first drug approved by the agency as a treatment for cocaine and Methamphetamine dependence. The anticonvulsant drug is believed to block the craving and euphoria associated with cocaine and Meth use.

News Release from Ovation

How Meth Damages Userís Heart, Blood Vessels

An article from Forbes Magazine online edition outlines results from research into how prolonged Meth use leads to cardiovascular problems.  While information about Methís impact on the brain is well documented, the drugís effect on the cardiovascular system is not as well known.  In this study, involving the behavioral and chemical changes in rats allowed to self-administer Meth, researchers found that Meth starts an unnatural chemical reaction that leads to a protein change in the userís body, creating compounds that have been tied to a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer's and diabetes.
That change creates both an antibody and inflammation response.  According to the lead researcher, Kim Janda from the Scripps Research Institute in California, the reaction can cause both heart and blood vessel damage.  Some of the problems triggered by this interaction include arrhythmias, intracranial bleeding, and congestive heart failure.  Janda adds that this change in a userís system may also be the clue to why they continue to increase the amount of Meth they take, explaining that the antibody response takes the Meth out of cells, leading to the desire for more of the drug to regain the high.  

See Abstract as published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/25/07

From: Self-vaccination by methamphetamine glycation products chemically links chronic drug abuse and cardiovascular disease
Authors: Jennifer Treweek, Sunmee Wee, George F. Koob, Tobin J. Dickerson, and Kim D. Janda

Published in:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 25, 2007
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0701328104

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Meth Use Restricts Fetal Growth
'Meth Babies' Overwhelm
Cal. System

Other Research
NJC 24H Study
BIA Survey
Economic Impact
Gender Differences in Prenatal Exposure
ID Theft Tied to Meth
Meth and Crime Rate
Meth Heart Disease
Meth Strokes
NACo Healthcare
NACo Survey 7-06
OD Treatment and Brain Damage
Receptor Key to New Therapy?
Research Center
Rural Users Health Issues
Utah Study
Youth Meth Use

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