When it comes to treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, the options vary. The most successful treatment plans include a diverse range of approaches. For the abuse of some drugs, such as alcohol and opioids, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is an option.
Unfortunately, there are no FDA-approved medications to help treat meth addiction, however, this could change in the future. There are some promising options for MAT for meth drugs. Plus, meth detox drugs exist which can help during the detox phase.
What is the Meth Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program?
Currently, there is no meth MAT program at Bedrock, or any other treatment center in the U.S. Why? Because there are no approved drugs for the use of treating meth addiction.
Although a medical meth rehab program does not currently exist, medications may still be used during your meth rehab program. There are several reasons why medications might be used during your treatment program for meth abuse, even if they are not used to treat the drug abuse directly. Those reasons include:
Managing Withdrawal Symptoms
One of the most common uses for medicine during a meth rehab program would be to manage withdrawal symptoms. These drugs could be called meth detox medication. Withdrawal from meth can bring up very unpleasant symptoms, and medications can help to ease the discomfort caused by these symptoms.
Common symptoms of meth withdrawal include:
- Strong meth cravings
- Increased appetite
- Mood swings
- Red, itchy eyes
During detox, meth patients may be given drugs to help ease these withdrawal symptoms. This helps detox go smoothly so that patients can get to the rehab part of the journey.
Treating Dual Diagnosis
When it comes to meth, dual diagnosis is quite common. A dual diagnosis is when a meth addict also suffers from another mental or physical health condition, in addition to their drug addiction.
Bedrock is proud to offer special treatment options for dual diagnosis patients. Medication is a common aspect of these programs. Although the medication cannot be used to treat meth addiction directly, it is common for one disorder of a dual diagnosis to make the other worse. So, treating one disorder with drugs is also likely to help with the addiction issue.
For example, a patient may suffer from both meth addiction and major depression. It is likely that the depression contributes to the patient’s meth abuse. By treating the patient’s depression with medication, the meth abuse could be treated as well.
Why Is Meth Left Out of Medication-Assisted Treatment?
There are approved drugs to help in the treatment of certain addictions. Most notably, these include addiction to alcohol and to opioids. So, why is meth left out of the list of drug addictions that can be treated with medication?
The answer is simple: there are not yet any drugs that have been approved by the FDA to treat meth addiction. In order to get FDA approved, a drug must go through many studies and trials in order to prove that it is effective. There are currently studies happening for a number of drugs that could work to treat meth addiction.
The process to get a drug approved can take a long time. There is no clear answer as to when or if meth rehab programs will start to use MAT. Fortunately, there are other evidence-based treatments that are very good for treating meth addicts.
Funding for Meth Medication-Assisted Treatments
There is some funding available for research of MAT drugs for meth. This includes a 1 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Health. This grant goes towards research of MAT drugs for many substances, including meth.
More funding could help MAT for meth become a reality sooner. Sometimes all that is needed for a drug to be pushed through the approval process faster is the funding to do the research.
No Government-approved Medications to Treat Meth Addiction
So far, no drugs have been approved by the government for treatment of meth addiction. But, there are many drugs that have and continue to be studied for their effectiveness to reduce meth abuse. These drugs include:
- Bupropion. This antidepressant drug has effects similar to meth. It could help with meth withdrawal as well as the brain effects of meth abuse.
- Modafinil. This stimulant drug has a similar effect to meth. It could help with withdrawal symptoms and helping with brain functions in addicts.
- Naltrexone. Naltrexone is used in MAT programs for alcohol and opioids. This drug might block cravings for meth.
- Topiramate. This drug enhances the GABA chemical in the brain. This helps people feel more relaxed. This drug could help to curb cravings for meth.
- Ibudilast. This drug reduces inflammation and could help to make the transition away from meth easier for patients.
Although these promising drugs do exist and are being studied for their effectiveness in treating meth abuse, none have been approved yet by the FDA. Until approval happens, meth addiction centers will instead have to use treatments such as therapy, 12-step programs, and supportive programs to help meth addicts recover.
MAT for Meth Lagging Behind Opioid Treatments
MAT is commonly used to treat certain addictions. Of these, it is most common for the treatment of opioid abuse. This is the case despite the fact that meth abuse has been widespread for far longer than opioid abuse.
The drugs that are the most effective for treating opioid abuse do so in two ways: They either block the brain’s response to opioids so that taking them is no longer pleasurable, or they curb cravings for opioids by providing the brain with a similar effect. The danger of the drugs that block the brain’s response is that if an addict still abuses opioids, they could overdose more easily.
It is likely that the drugs that will eventually be approved to treat meth abuse will be stimulants. Because meth is a stimulant, these drugs will give the user’s brain a similar effect without the addictive quality of meth.
Mediocre Meth MAT Substitutes
Because there are no drugs used for MAT for meth, meth recovery centers must settle for substitutes. Although the drugs that are used for meth cleanse (also called detox) are helpful, they really are a mediocre substitute for actual MAT.
Fortunately, the best meth rehab centers are able to help meth addicts without the use of medication. Treatments for meth abuse that have been proven to be effective include behavioral therapies which such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), as well as group meetings such as those that use the 12-step model.
These ‘evidence-based treatments’ are exactly that—treatment methods that have been proven to be effective for treating meth addiction. Once there are medications that are proven to treat meth abuse, MAT for meth will exist.
Why Choose Bedrock?
Bedrock is one of the premier meth abuse treatment centers in the country. Our dedicated and experienced team will work tirelessly to help you beat addiction. Our board-certified physicians have years of experience helping patients reclaim their sobriety.
Our meth treatment programs include the most well-researched treatments. Patients feel the support and compassion of our team during their entire recovery journey. Our facility is luxurious and comes with many premium amenities, which help our patients relax and heal naturally during their time at Bedrock. To learn more about our programs, call Bedrock today.