Pharmacological approaches to methamphetamine dependence: A focused review

Laurent Karila, Aviv Weinstein, Henri Jean Aubin, Amine Benyamina, Michel Reynaud, Steven L. Batki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Methamphetamine dependence is a serious worldwide public health problem with major medical, psychiatric, socioeconomic and legal consequences. Various neuronal mechanisms implicated in methamphetamine dependence have suggested several pharmacological approaches. A literature search from a range of electronic databases (PubMed, EMBASE, PsycInfo, the NIDA research monograph index and the reference list of was conducted for the period from January 1985 to October 2009. There were no restrictions on the identification or inclusion of studies in terms of publication status, language and design type. A variety of medications have failed to show efficacy in clinical trials, including a dopamine partial agonist (aripiprazole), GABAergic agents (gabapentin) and serotonergic agents (SSRI, ondansetron, mirtazapine). Three double-blind placebo-controlled trials using modafinil, bupropion and naltrexone have shown positive results in reducing amphetamine or methamphetamine use. Two studies employing agonist replacement medications, one with d-amphetamine and the other with methylphenidate, have also shown promise. Despite the lack of success in most studies to date, increasing efforts are being made to develop medications for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence and several promising agents are targets of further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-592
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Addiction
  • Amphetamine
  • Clinical trials
  • Dependence
  • Medication
  • Methamphetamine
  • Treatment


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