ADHD drug may help meth users kick habit

Similar to the way in which methadone is given to heroin users, an upcoming trial in Sydney and Newcastle will test the effects of the amphetamine agonist, lisdexamfetamine, as a substitution therapy for ice users. 

The slow-acting drug holds hope for reducing withdrawal and cravings in ice and methamphetamine addicts, without giving the characteristic high that could foster further addiction. 

Dr Nadine Ezard, an addiction specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, said lisdexamfetamine was a “prodrug” of dexamphetamine, metabolising in red blood cells, and had a longer duration of action, slower onset and more predictable effect.

“The idea therefore, is that it might be useful in targeting the withdrawal symptoms which trigger people to use methamphetamine again. It could break the cycle,” she told MO.

Dr Ezard is the clinical director of the alcohol and drug service at the hospital,