Antipsychotic Trial for Meth Addicts

Addiction to methamphetamine was treated in a trial with aripiprazole and counseling

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) As of yet, there is no pill on the market for treating methamphetamine addiction. Researchers will have to continue to test and investigate for a solution.

A recent clinical trial tested the use of an antipsychotic in combination with substance abuse counseling on a group of people addicted to methamphetamines. After 12 weeks, urine tests showed fewer people using meth, but the reduction was found in those who took the drug and those who did not. 

"Seek help immediately for methamphetamine use."

Phillip Oliver Coffin, MD, from the department of HIV Prevention at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the University of California, worked with colleagues on a clinical trial to test the use of aripiprazole to treat methamphetamine dependence.

Aripiprazole, brand name Abilify, is an atypical antipsychotic approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

For the study, 90 methamphetamine-dependent adults were recruited and randomly assigned to the aripiprazole or placebo (fake) pill group for 12 weeks.

All participants were also provided with 30-minute substance abuse counseling every week.

A total of 83 percent of the group completed the trial and follow-up visit 3 months later.

To test the effectiveness of the treatment, urine tests were given to screen for methamphetamine use.

The placebo group went from 73 percent methamphetamine positive urine tests down to 45 percent positive tests during the trial.

The aripiprazole group went from 77 percent positive tests to 44 percent.

Each participant was asked to self-report medication use with the medication event monitoring systems (MEMS), along with risky sexual behavior and methamphetamine use.

Following through with the self-reporting went from 42 percent to 74 percent across both groups.

Risky sexual behavior also declined in both groups, although slightly more in the aripiprazole group, over the course of the trial.

Aripiprazole did not significantly increase the odds of quitting methamphetamines compared to the placebo group.

The drop in methamphetamine use could have been supported by the substance abuse counseling sessions.

This study was published in January in Addiction.

Funding was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

No conflicts of interest were reported.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 2, 2013
Last Updated:
July 2, 2013