Is there a “miracle cure” for Methamphetamine addiction?
For many, the answer was usually a resounding, no, but a drug called Ibudilast is showing promise in clinical studies. So much promise that UCLA conducted a clinical trial of the drug, with impressive results, and the FDA has fast-tracked testing on humans.
Popular in Japan, Ibudilast is used as a treatment for asthma and complications from stroke, due to its properties as both a bronchodilator and vasodilator. This means it improves both lung and circulatory functions.
It also has an effect on specific cells found in the central nervous system called glial cells, which have been found to be closely linked to addiction.
In addition to possibly being the only effective treatment for meth addiction, Ibudilast has also been shown to aid in opiate withdrawal.
By increasing the pain-relieving properties of opiods (including oxycodone and heroin), Ibudilast helps the user decrease dosage and reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. Because it is not an opiate, Ibudilast alleviates the possibility of secondary addiction.
According to a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, by 2011 there were close to 440, 000 meth abusers in the United States. Some estimates of heroin users exceed 600,000.
The second, larger phase of the UCLA study is set to begin in mid-summer.