As methamphetamine use and addiction continues to rise in Oregon and across the country, CODA researchers have helped to expand options for treatment. Featured in January on NPR, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine is the first time a medication regimen has proven effective in combatting meth addiction.
CODA was one of the sites that participated in the clinical study, which explored the effectiveness of a combination of two medications for patients with methamphetamine use disorder. In the study, patients received injections of extended-release naltrexone and oral doses of buproprion. Naltrexone, which is already used for treating opioid addiction, blocks opioid receptors in the brain and is proven to reduce cravings in some patients. Bupropion is often used to treat depression.
Researchers say it’s not entirely clear why these drugs worked more effectively in tandem. One theory is that naltrexone reduced physiological cravings for meth, while buproprion’s antidepressant effects eased the anxiety people experience when they stop using. Unless treated, that emotional distress can trigger a relapse.
Congratulations to CODA Research and all of the participants in this groundbreaking study.