Due to the disastrous effects methamphetamine has had on society, there have been numerous attempts to create a successful methamphetamine addiction treatment or cure. However, no such medical treatment has been discovered so far. Nonetheless, many drug manufacturers and companies have continued to push discontinued and disproven treatments.
In the early 2000s, when the methamphetamine epidemic was at its worst in the United States, pharmaceutical manufacturers were desperate to create a drug that could cure methamphetamine addicts of their reliance on the substance. A company called Hythiam created a medication known as Prometa and distributed it to drug treatment facilities, touting it as an effective methamphetamine addiction treatment. In private care settings, some patients would pay $12,000 to $15,000 for a single month of Prometa treatment.
However, after mental health professionals and addiction experts failed to see Prometa have a positive effect on patients, they called for studies to test the drug. Hythiam funneled a portion of its profits from Prometa sales to fund a study of the medication. An expert on meth addiction, Dr. Walter Ling, ran the study.
After conducting clinical trials in which Prometa was compared with the effects of a placebo (a sugar pill meant to have no effect), the researchers found that Prometa did no better than the placebo at reducing meth cravings, reducing meth use or improving treatment retention for recovering meth addicts. Ultimately, the drug was proven ineffective and was no longer used as a methamphetamine addiction treatment.
Dexamphetamine is a medication that is used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is a stimulant drug, like methamphetamine. It has been used as a methamphetamine addiction treatment in England and Wales as a way to help meth users control their cravings. However, dexamphetamine is highly addictive itself. Individuals suffering from methamphetamine addiction are likely to become addicted to dexamphetamine in addition to or instead of methamphetamine. For these reasons, most substance abuse experts and medical professionals avoid prescribing dexamphetamine to meth abusers.
Since methamphetamine was created in Germany in 1887, it has been used for a myriad of purposes including treating asthma and, of course, getting high. Due to meth’s highly addictive nature, medical and mental health professionals have been working to find treatment options for methamphetamine abuse. However, most pharmaceutical interventions have proven ineffective. Rather, behavioral treatments, support groups and individual counseling are the only reliable methamphetamine addiction treatment options.
California Society of Addiction Medicine. (2011). Study Finds Prometa Treatment Ineffective. http://www.csam-asam.org/Prometa
Ling, W., Shoptaw, S., Hillhouse, M., Bholat, M. A., Charuvastra, C., Heinzerling, K., Chim, D., Annon, J., Dowling, P. T., & Doraimani, G. (2012). Double-blind placebo-controlled evaluation of the PROMETA™ protocol for methamphetamine dependence. Addiction, 107, 361-369.
Narcanon. (2016). Methamphetamine: The Anywhere, Anytime Drug. http://www.narconon.org/drug-information/methamphetamine-abuse-and-treatment.html
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Dextroamphetamine. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a605027.html