Research

UTHealth a Site for First-Ever Large NIDA Trial For Methamphetamine Use Disorder


Schmitz
By Deborah Mann Lake | June 13, 2017

With the rates of methamphetamine use reaching an all-time high in Texas, raising alarms for the Greater Houston area, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) researchers have launched a clinical trial to study a combination of medications designed to treat methamphetamine use disorder.

The Center for Neurobehavioral Research on Addiction (CNRA) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth is one of just seven sites for the study as part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network (NIDA CTN). The clinical trial brings a $930,000 grant to the CNRA, which is the only enrolling site in Texas.

Due to a more potent form of the drug coming out of Mexico, methamphetamine use in Texas is now higher than even the highest levels documented before the 2006 ban on the sale of pseudoephedrine, according to the August 2016 report of the NIDA-funded National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS). The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ranked methamphetamine as the No. 1 drug threat in the Dallas DEA area and No. 2 in the Houston DEA area. The NDEWS report also revealed that poison control calls about methamphetamine exposure are at the highest level ever in the state and admissions to treatment programs have increased from 3 percent of all admissions in 1999 to 16 percent in 2015.

“Methamphetamine is one of the most highly addictive and destructive drugs on the illicit market. Unfortunately, effective treatment options for methamphetamine dependence are extremely limited,” said Joy Schmitz, Ph.D., director of the CNRA and the Louis A. Faillace, M.D., Professor at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “The CNRA is excited to be part of the first-ever large, multisite national study that could have a huge impact on improving treatment of methamphetamine addiction by studying a promising new medication combination.”

The clinical trial will examine whether a combination of naltrexone and bupropion works better than placebo to help methamphetamine addiction. Both medications are approved by the Federal Drug Administration for other disorders.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that increases levels of dopamine in the brain. Unlike cocaine, which has a similar effect, methamphetamine stays in the brain longer, leading to prolonged stimulant effects before the inevitable crash. Increasing use can lead to cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat, as well as hyperthermia, structural damage to the brain, convulsions and death. Chronic users can develop anxiety, confusion, mood disturbances and violent behavior.

“A person who uses it regularly can have a psychotic break and begin feeling, hearing or seeing things,” said co-investigator Michael Weaver, M.D., professor and medical director of the CNRA. “They can develop tactile hallucinations and feel like bugs are crawling on them, scratching to the point where they develop large sores.”

Psychotic symptoms can sometimes last for months or years after a person has quit abusing methamphetamine, according to the NIDA.

The UTHealth site will enroll 55 participants of the 370 recruited nationally. Eligible participants (18 to 65 years old) will have clinic visits twice a week, receive 12 weeks of medication, and be compensated for study activities. Participation is voluntary and possible risks and benefits will be discussed. For more information about the study, call 713-486-2635 or email ms.CNRAresearch@.uth.tmc.edu.

Other UTHealth faculty involved in this study include Angela Stotts, Ph.D.; Thomas Northrup, Ph.D.; Yolanda Villarreal, Ph.D.; and Raymond Cho, M.D., M.Sc. Team members include research coordinator Jessica Vincent, research assistant Tasha Davis, recruiter specialist Rolanda Johnson, M.S., and research nurse Ife Ifelayo, R.N.

Tags | Research



Social Posts

profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Employers answer the call at Mayor’s Challenge conference to help prevent suicide https://t.co/4SqzgOFWNj via #VAntagePoint

12 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Dr. Hugo Bellen and his lab are looking into the fruit fly's genes to find the ones that cause neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative disorders. https://t.co/Q9iZDBraWs #research @BCMFomtheLabs

12 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

It was great to see some of the #ManyFacesOfUTHealth working together yesterday at the @UTHealthCIPC mass casualty simulation drill to improve their skill sets and elevate their training! https://t.co/8SD8ipgbUO #collaboration #healthcare

12 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @UTCVSurgery: The @UTHealth @McGovernMed @UTCVSurgery #Vascular team at the @VascularSVS #VAM2018 interactive poster session https://t.c…

12 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @UTHealthCareers: Come Join the #UTHealth Team!!!! We have openings for all positions. Click the link below and join our team!!!! https:…

12 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

VA program using telemedicine to improve care of critically ill patients in regional hospitals appeared to reduce transfers to ICUs at larger facilities without compromising patient survival, researchers said. https://t.co/3shlLvcRbn via @HealthLeaders

13 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is @USArmy Veteran Joe Lopez. https://t.co/XNJFhMYYlM

14 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @RiceUNews: Thanks to @MarkBermanFox26 and all the other #Houston media for visiting campus Thursday when we introduced @RiceBaseball's…

14 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

How we’re leading the way in #thyroidcancer treatment: https://t.co/MgHQp9I0Dd #endcancer

14 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @davidleebron: Here’s the sequel. Gorgeousness from the opposite perspective at the end of the day. https://t.co/TOID4qgnLF

14 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UH_MVP: Come volunteer next Saturday, take some time out of your summer to give back to our Houston community! https://t.co/wIdQtK3LmX

14 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

Today @Ppisters, @svargheseCHRO and other MD Anderson senior leaders set the pace for the President’s Fitness Challenge Row, Ride, Run. Next week, all employees are invited to form teams and try to beat Dr. Pisters’ time. #endcancer https://t.co/kHPILjnwi2

15 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @CaroMuriel3: “ I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring” David Bowie💃🏻🏃🏽‍♀️ Running on one of the best…

15 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@NASARocketMan Thanks for reaching out. Please send a DM so we can get more info & have management follow up ^SF

15 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

ICYMI: Phase II clinical trial offers hope for first new therapeutic option for small cell #lungcancer in more than three decades: https://t.co/kn0V96ak9v #lcsm #endcancer

15 hours ago