Randomized, placebo-controlled trial of bupropion in methamphetamine-dependent participants with less than daily methamphetamine use

Addiction. 2014 Nov;109(11):1878-86. doi: 10.1111/add.12636. Epub 2014 Aug 5.


Aims: Two previous randomized trials found an effect for bupropion in reducing methamphetamine use in the subgroup with lower frequency of methamphetamine use at baseline. This study aimed to replicate these results by comparing bupropion versus placebo in methamphetamine-dependent participants with less than daily methamphetamine use at baseline.

Methods: Methamphetamine-dependent volunteers reporting methamphetamine use on ≤29 of past 30 days were randomized to bupropion 150 mg twice daily (n = 41) or placebo (n = 43) and out-patient counseling for 12 weeks. The primary outcome was the proportion achieving end-of-treatment (EOT) methamphetamine abstinence (weeks 11 and 12) for bupropion versus placebo. A post-hoc analysis compared EOT abstinence by medication adherence assessed via plasma bupropion/hydroxybupropion level.

Results: There was no significant difference in EOT abstinence between bupropion (29%, 12 of 41) and placebo (14%, six of 43; P = 0.087). Among participants receiving bupropion, EOT abstinence was significantly higher in participants assessed as medication adherent by plasma bupropion/hydroxybupropion levels (54%, seven of 13) compared to non-adherent participants (18%, five of 28; P = 0.018). Medication adherence by plasma levels was low (32%).

Conclusions: Bupropion may be efficacious for reducing methamphetamine in people with less than daily baseline methamphetamine use, but the evidence remains inconclusive.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00833443.

Keywords: Bupropion; clinical trial; medication non-adherence; methamphetamine; pharmacotherapy; placebo.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Bupropion / blood
  • Bupropion / therapeutic use*
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / blood
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Methamphetamine / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Bupropion
  • Methamphetamine

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00833443