Pharmacotherapeutic agents in the treatment of methamphetamine dependence

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2017 May;26(5):563-578. doi: 10.1080/13543784.2017.1313229. Epub 2017 Apr 7.


Methamphetamine use is a serious public health concern in many countries and is second to cannabis as the most widely abused illicit drug in the world. Effective management for methamphetamine dependence remains elusive and the large majority of methamphetamine users relapse following treatment. Areas covered: Progression in the understanding of the pharmacological basis of methamphetamine use has provided us with innovative opportunities to develop agents to treat dependence. The current review summarizes relevant literature on the neurobiological and clinical correlates associated with methamphetamine use. We then outline agents that have been explored for potential treatments in preclinical studies, human laboratory phase I and phase II trials over the last ten years. Expert opinion: No agent has demonstrated a broad and strong effect in achieving MA abstinence in Phase II trials. Agents with novel therapeutic targets appear promising. Advancement in MA treatment, including translation into practice, faces several clinical challenges.

Keywords: Methamphetamine; pharmacotherapy; psychostimulant; substance use; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Drug Design*
  • Humans
  • Methamphetamine / administration & dosage
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Recurrence


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methamphetamine