Methamphetamine Vaccine Shows Promise in Rats

An experimental vaccine tested in rats largely protected the rodents from typical signs of methamphetamine intoxication, Medical News Today reports. There are currently no approved treatments for meth addiction, according to the article.

“This is an early-stage study, but its results are comparable to those for other drug vaccines that have then gone to clinical trials,” researcher Michael A. Taffe of The Scripps Research Institute said in a news release.

The vaccine produces an antibody response against drug molecules. These antibodies grab onto the molecules, and prevent them from getting into the brain and producing a high.

Last year, Scripps researchers reported they found three new formulations that could be used in a vaccine to treat meth addiction, using a mouse model. The researchers said the new vaccine formulations potentially could be effective for longer periods than previous vaccines, which could lead to lower costs and reduced risk of relapse.

In the new study, researchers tested one of the formulations, known as MH6, which they found worked best at blocking two effects of meth—an increase in physical activity, and a loss of the ability to regulate body temperature.

“I think that this vaccine has all the right features to allow it to move forward in development,” said co-researcher Kim Janda. “It certainly works better than the other active vaccines for meth that have been reported so far.”

The study is published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.