Scientists Test Meth Addiction 'Cure'

Early results are promising at UCLA

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 3, 2013 5:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Scientists are testing a drug that may 'cure' meth addiction, and early results are good. Ibudilast is used in Japan and Korea to treat asthma sufferers and stroke victims, but US scientists believe it may also block methamphetamine cravings in the brain, reports the Huffington Post. "Very preliminary results would indicate that Ibudilast may dampen craving and improve cognitive functioning," says one UCLA researcher. If further tests by the FDA prove successful, the drug could be approved by 2018.

One national survey puts the number of meth addicts in the US at 439,000, and the only current treatment available to them is rehab and counseling. The scientists behind the trial say another option is sorely needed. "When you're on meth, your whole brain is saying, 'I need meth,'" says the researcher. The drug could change that. "You could say, 'You know, rather than calling my dealer right now, I'm going to say no.'"

A drug addict shoots up a "speedball,, a combination of heroin and crystal meth.   (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
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