Can A New Medication Combo Help Treat Meth Addiction?
New clinical findings may spell good news for meth addiction treatment in Texas and the rest of the country. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shows promising data supporting the effectiveness of a medication cocktail to help those struggling with meth dependency. Researchers administered a combination of naltrexone (Vivitrol®) and bupropion (the antidepressant Wellbutrin®) in the study to help offset cravings and withdrawal symptoms. While definitive treatment success rates were only 14 percent during this study, the authors are declaring it a promising step forward in the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in meth addiction care, a resource that many clinicians and advocates say is sorely lacking, particularly in the LGBTQ+ community.
Methamphetamine (commonly referred to as meth or crystal meth) has endured as one of the most urgent and pervasive substance abuse threats facing the country. The (NIDA) is sounding the alarm once more on the dangers of the drug, reporting a ten-fold increase in overdose deaths over the past decade. The organization indicates that there were over 16,500 meth overdose deaths in 2019 alone. In the meantime, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that the number of Americans who struggle with meth use disorder increased 45 percent, from 684,000 to over one million, from 2016-2018.
The study was conducted from 2017-2019 and enrolled 403 adults who had used meth on at least 18 of the previous 30 days. Successful outcomes were defined as those where at least three quarters of a participant’s urine screens for meth were negative during the last two weeks of each six-week phase of the trial. Nearly 14 percent of those who were given the medications met the criteria for a successful outcome versus a 2.5 percent of the placebo group.
Study authors, led by Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, a psychiatrist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, believe that bupropion may have mitigated the emotional and psychological impact of meth withdrawal while the naltrexone helped to reduce cravings. While there is certainly a long way to go, the researchers, along with multiple addiction care experts, believe it represents a significant step forward in meth treatment. They believe it will be particularly effective when paired with behavioral rehab and counseling, as is the case with MAT for opioid use disorder. It’s important to realize that no medication is a substitute for comprehensive rehab and behavioral care.
The meth addiction epidemic has hit the LGBTQ+ community particularly hard since it’s most recent proliferation. Data from SAMHSA indicates that meth abuse is over four times higher among gay men. Additional research illustrates that meth use is closely linked to high-risk sexual behavior that disproportionately affects the gay male population, and is closely tied to the transmission and contraction of HIV in gay and bisexual patients.
There is also evidence that the drug exacerbates health issues associated with HIV and can diminish treatment efficacy. Additional data from City University of New York indicates that those in the sexual minority are four times more likely to contract HIV during recent meth use and seven times more likely during persistent meth use. Many are hoping the study can be a step forward in helping this enduringly vulnerable population.
Recovery Unplugged offers compassionate and supportive LGBTQ-friendly meth addiction treatment and is thoroughly mindful of the unique and identity-related factors that drive addiction and prevent effective care. If you or your loved one need LGBTQ-friendly meth addiction treatment, we’re ready to help you get the intuitive, sensitive and compassionate care you need.
The number of people finding themselves in need of meth addiction treatment in Texas is growing by the day; and has been for years. In 2017, 813 people died from an overdose on crystal meth, while 591 died from a heroin overdose in Texas. The National Drug Early Warning System reported as far back as 2018 that meth has now surpassed heroin in many indicators and is now the primary public health problem in Texas. The drug is dominating the state’s metropolitan areas, like Austin and Houston, as well as rural areas, where it’s often cooked up in makeshift labs.
While researchers and clinicians continue to explore medication-based solutions for meth addiction, Recovery Unplugged is ready to provide you or your loved one effective, evidence-based care right now. Our Austin, Texas meth addiction treatment program offers a full continuum of care, including medical detox to help you overcome acute withdrawal symptoms and comprehensive behavioral rehab to help develop coping mechanisms to help you avoid relapse and rebuild your life in recovery.
You or your loved one will work with experienced and qualified doctors, nurses and therapists to address all aspects of your meth addiction so you can start taking your life back. Recovery Unplugged is in-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and many of the state’s other leading insurance providers to help you or your loved one more easily pay for care.
If you or your someone you care about need meth addiction treatment in Texas, or anywhere else, it’s easy to think that you’re too far gone to turn things around, and that meth has its hooks too deep in you for you to get free. The longer you wait to get quality and effective help, the harder it will be for you to overcome your meth abuse. Medical detox will help you rebalance your brain chemistry so you’re no longer plagued by unshakable withdrawal, and rehab can help you relearn important life skills and address all other areas of your life that have been impacted by meth.
Don’t let this drug take one more minute from you or your loved one. Our admissions representatives are standing by to help you get into a program right now. Call us today for a full insurance verification. You’re stronger than meth addiction…let us help you prove it.
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