The drug naltrexone, used to treat alcoholism, may also be useful in treating methamphetamine addiction, a small new study suggests.
Researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles found naltrexone decreased the desire for meth and the pleasure derived from using it, UPI reports.
The study included 22 men and 8 women who used meth an average of three or four times a week. Half of the participants were given naltrexone on days three and four of a four-day hospital stay, while the other half received a placebo daily. After 10 days, they spent another four days in the hospital. Those who had been given naltrexone took a placebo for four days, while those who had been given a placebo received naltrexone.
On the last day of each hospital stay, participants were given a dose of meth. After three hours, they were asked how they felt and whether they wanted more of the drug. Those who took naltrexone had less desire for meth, and said they enjoyed it less when they took it.
“The results were about as good as you could hope for,” researcher Lara Ray said in a news release. The study appears in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
Larger clinical trials of naltrexone as a treatment for meth addiction are now being conducted with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.