Seizure Medication Targets Meth Addiction Too

Topiramate may reduce methamphetamine use and relapse rates

(RxWiki News) As research continues to improve understanding on the pathology of disease, medications found to be beneficial for one disease may be proven effective in treating different, unrelated medical issues.  

Published in the journal Addiction, a recent study explores the use of an epileptic seizure medication to treat drug abuse. Researchers found that topiramate, brand name Topamax, aids in reducing the use of methamphetamines.

"Speak to a doctor about Topamax for methamphetamine abuse."

Lead author on the study, Ahmed Elkashef, M.D., worked with over twenty other doctors and nurses to test the treatment of topiramate on 140 methamphetamine-addicted individuals. Participants received 50 to 200 milligrams each day of either the drug or a placebo for a course of 13 weeks.

The medication was supplemented with a behavioral compliance treatment at eight medical treatment centers across the United States.

“Topiramate did not increase abstinence from methamphetamine during weeks 6–12,” Dr. Elkashef and his team state. “For secondary outcomes, topiramate reduced weekly median urine methamphetamine levels and observer-rated severity of dependence scores significantly.”

Although the drug did not support a clean cut from drug use, topiramate could support drug reduction and relapse prevention treatments. Individuals taking topiramate maintained negative drug test results significantly more than those on placebo.

Dr. Elkashef explains, “Topiramate does not appear to promote abstinence in methamphetamine users but can reduce the amount taken and reduce relapse rates in those who are already abstinent.”

Ask a health professional about the use of topiramate to help facilitate methamphetamine treatment.

Review Date: 
December 19, 2011