Pharmacological Treatment for Methamphetamine Dependence
Methamphetamine (MA) is a highly addictive drug whose abuse causes widespread global consequences. The negative impact of MA use on individuals and communities warrants its consideration as a public health concern. MA has a complicated pharmacological action, and chronic use results in neurological dysfunction, including deficits in dopamine. Changes in dopaminergic function make treatment of MA dependence especially challenging, and the mainstay treatment of psychotherapy is insufficient in addressing dopamine deficit. Pharmacological treatments are being explored, but no medication has attained Federal Drug Administration approval, as it requires proof of achieving abstinence. From a harm reduction standpoint, several medications show promise in treating MA dependence by reducing the amount and/or frequency of use. This paper examines the potential of eight medications in reducing MA use through their pharmacological actions. Recommendations for further research and prescribing practices are offered.