It’s a well known fact that methamphetamines are one of the hardest substances to recover from. These types of addictions wreak havoc on people and for years, the medical community has struggled to find clear cut treatment solutions. Well now, there may be some added hope for people facing these types of dependencies. According to a new report from The New England Journal of Medicine, a potential medication regimen is showing some real promise.
NPR’s news site published this latest finding, which involved months of diligent research. For the record, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any type of medication-assisted treatment for meth use. But now, that may potentially change.
The New England research trials utilized a combinations of meds (specifically naltrexone and bupropion) to help with test subjects battling severe meth addictions. Placebos were administered as well and results showed that nearly 14 percent of the people receiving med treatments had success overcoming their dependency.
The NPR article was quick to point out that although at 14 percent may not sound like a large number from the outset, it was declared a major victory for the researchers. Dr. Nora Volkow, a director at The National Institute of Drug Addiction (which funded the project), spoke highly of the results and made a point to mention that other meds used to treat brain disorders have shown similar response rates in patients.
“It’s progress and it’s quite significant,” Volkow told NPR. “As we understand the complexity of the human brain, it becomes very much of a magical thinking that one pill will solve the problem of addiction.”
Indeed, the answer here could easily extend beyond one basic prescription and, as Volkow added, treating physicians should read this report with an open mind. The way the combination worked most best was with injections of naltrexone and oral doses of bupropion. Naltrexone has already shown success as a remedy for opioid abuse; as it has been proven to reduce craving sensations in many patients. Bupropion is a common medication for people suffering from depression. Blending these helped to reduce physical urges, as well as the psychological effects of halting such an extreme addiction.
Volkow added that she was very confident in the progress her team was seeing thus far and they are fully ready to move forward with securing FDA approval. And truth be told, something like this couldn’t be more timely. According to other stats shared in the article, U.S. meth fatalities have spiked by more than 30 percent since the start of COVID-19.