A comparison of aripiprazole, methylphenidate, and placebo for amphetamine dependence

Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Jan;164(1):160-2. doi: 10.1176/ajp.2007.164.1.160.


Objective: Problems related to illegal amphetamine use have become a major public health issue in many developed countries. To date, evidence on the effectiveness of psychosocial treatments has remained modest, and no pharmacotherapy has proven effective for amphetamine dependence.

Method: Individuals meeting DSM-IV criteria for intravenous amphetamine dependence (N=53) were randomly assigned to receive aripiprazole (15 mg/day), slow-release methylphenidate (54 mg/day), or placebo for 20 weeks. The study was terminated prematurely due to unexpected results of interim analysis. An intention-to-treat analysis was used. The primary outcome measure was the proportion of amphetamine-positive urine samples.

Results: Patients allocated to aripiprazole had significantly more amphetamine-positive urine samples than patients in the placebo group (odds ratio=3.77, 95% CI=1.55-9.18), whereas patients who received methylphenidate had significantly fewer amphetamine-positive urine samples than patients who had received placebo (odds ratio=0.46, 95% CI=0.26-0.81).

Conclusions: Methylphenidate is an effective treatment for reducing intravenous drug use in patients with severe amphetamine dependence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amphetamine / urine
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / urine
  • Aripiprazole
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use*
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use*
  • Placebos
  • Quinolones / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Substance Abuse Detection
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / drug therapy*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / urine
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Piperazines
  • Placebos
  • Quinolones
  • Methylphenidate
  • Aripiprazole
  • Amphetamine

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN54619615