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Can Doctors Prescribe Medications to Help with Methamphetamine and Stimulant Recovery?

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Methamphetamine is a drug that belongs to the psychostimulant drug class. Stimulants create a rush or high that occurs after using them and leads to a sense of well being. This feeling of well being is due to the release of neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine, which alters the reward pathways in the brain. The surge of dopamine released after taking a stimulant is often what draws individuals back to use these substances. Depending on the case, individuals who are being treated for stimulant use may be prescribed certain medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and increase the likelihood of recovery.

Treatment for Stimulant Withdrawal and Recovery

Each individual should have their own treatment plan that specifically addresses their needs and issues. The most common approach in treating stimulant abuse is a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. The following treatments may be implemented in treating stimulant abuse: individual counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy support groups, contingency management intervention.

Medications for Stimulant Recovery

Currently, the United States Food and Drug Administration does not approve any medication in the treatment of stimulant addiction. Medications that are approved to treat individuals with the recovery aspect of stimulant abuse are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. These medications are used as supportive medications or medications that are used to treat the withdrawal symptoms that occur after quitting stimulants during the detox process. Withdrawal symptoms that typically occur with stimulant withdrawal include:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Stimulant Cravings

Under medical supervision, individuals may be prescribed medication that eases the intensity of withdrawal symptoms that are associated with the short term detox as well as the long term psychological symptoms related to withdrawal.

Medications Currently Being Tested for Treating Stimulant Addiction

The United States Food and Drug Administration has begun studying specific medications to treat stimulant detox and recovery. Many medications have been evaluated in trial studies in order to determine their safety and efficacy in treating stimulant detox. There are more trials needed in order to absolutely confirm the efficacy of these drugs. The medications that have been studied to reduce the use of stimulants include:
1. Modafinil – The use of this medication has shown mixed results in the treatment of stimulant withdrawal. One study has shown that Modafinil may be effective in reducing the number of stimulants used when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
2. Buproprion – Buproprion has shown to be effective in reducing stimulant use in individuals who use a light amount of stimulants.
3. Mirtazapine – When used in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy, Mirtazapine has shown to be effective in reducing stimulant use.
4. Topimirate – Topimirate has been shown to reduce stimulant use, but has not been shown to help individuals who are in sobriety.
5. Naltrexone – Several studies have shown that Naltrexone has the ability to initially reduce the use of stimulants and increase the likelihood of abstinence.

The following medications have been studied for use in reducing stimulant cravings:
Nicotine – Nicotine administered during the withdrawal process from stimulants has shown to decrease stimulant cravings.
1. Rivastigmine – Several studies have shown that Rivastigmine may be able to help decrease cravings for stimulants.
2. Dextroamphetamine – Dextroamphetamine has been shown to reduce the overall cravings for methamphetamine.
3. Naltrexone – Naltrexone has been shown to reduce the use of stimulants, which also may be an indication that the cravings for stimulants have been reduced.
4. Buproprion – The use of Buproprion has been associated with the reduction of stimulant cravings.

The two medications that show the most promise in treating stimulant abuse are Naltrexone and Buproprion, as they are able to show a reduction in both cravings and the use of stimulants. Naltrexone is a medication that is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of opioid and alcohol dependence. Buproprion is a medication that is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in the treatment of depression, smoking cessation, and seasonal affective disorder.

If you would like more information regarding treatment for recovery from methamphetamine or stimulants, please contact us today at 888-380-0342.

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