A Medication to Treat Methamphetamine Addiction?

ibudilasttrialResearchers at UCLA are currently working on what they believe may be a cure for methamphetamine addiction. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is monitoring human tests of the medicine that many believe is a way out for those addicted to methamphetamine. If successful, the medicine may also be the first non-opiate solution for those suffering from heroin and opiate addictions as well.

The drug is called Ibudilast. It works by inhibiting glial cells in the central nervous system. Glial cells have been found to be linked to drug addiction. “When you’re on meth, your whole brain is saying, ‘I need meth.’ If you could block meth from interfering with glial, it would allow the messages that you would like to be sending and receiving to actually get to your brain,” explained Dr. Aimee Swanson.

Researchers were encouraged that Ibudilast was effective when it was administered to 11 meth addicts who were not seeking out treatment for their addiction. Researchers found that the drug appeared to reduce the cravings for methamphetamine and there did not appear to be any safety risks in taking Ibudilast. There are other trials and experiments that need to be done on the drug to ensure its safety and effectiveness, but researchers believe they are on to something.

People suffering from a methamphetamine addiction seek out the help of a drug rehabilitation center to handle their addiction. Counseling, paired with abstinence and medical attention have been the tools used to treat a methamphetamine addiction. With the addition of Ibudilast, some fear that methamphetamine addicts will not seek out treatment to handle their addiction.

Treatment for drug addiction is vital in ensuring that the addict handles the problems in life that caused them to use drugs in the first place. While a drug like Ibudilast may be effective in reducing the cravings, it does not handle the difficulties or situations that led to the addiction or that were caused by the addiction. For maximum effectiveness an addict should enroll in a drug treatment program in addition to taking the medication.