Effects of oral methamphetamine on cocaine use: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Author(s): Mooney ME, Herin DV, Schmitz JM, Moukaddam N, Green CE, Grabowski J
Affiliation(s): Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, United States.
Publication date & source: 2008-12-04, Drug Alcohol Depend., [Epub ahead of print]
BACKGROUND: No medication is currently approved for the treatment of cocaine dependence, but several preclinical and clinical reports suggest agonist-like medications, e.g., amphetamine analogues, may be a productive strategy for medication development. OBJECTIVE: This current proof-of-concept study sought to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and effectiveness of methamphetamine as a candidate treatment for cocaine dependence. METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study served to evaluate three treatment conditions in 82 cocaine-dependent individuals: (1) placebo (0mg, 6x/day; n=27), (2) immediate release (IR) methamphetamine (5mg, 6x/day; n=30), (3) sustained release (SR) methamphetamine (30mg first pill, 1x/day; 0mg 5x/day; n=25). The study employed a sequential, two-phase design (i.e., 4 weeks of medication and counseling followed by 4 weeks of medication/counseling plus a contingency management procedure). RESULTS: Both preparation forms of methamphetamine were well-tolerated, with similar retention to placebo (0mg, 33%; 30mg IR, 30%, 30mg SR, 32%). Methamphetamine SR was associated with decreased sleep and increased weight loss. Medication adherence rates were high for the first dose of the day (95%), while adherence for subsequent capsules was lower. Those in the SR condition exhibited consistently lower rates of cocaine-positive urine samples (0mg, 60%; 30mg IR, 66%; 30mg SR, 29%), p<0.0001, and reported the greatest reduction in craving for cocaine, p<0.05. CONCLUSIONS: SR methamphetamine significantly reduced cocaine use and craving. Additional research is warranted to develop and evaluate agonist-like medications that may effectively treat cocaine dependence.