UAMS researchers to test new methamphetamine treatment

There is currently no FDA approved drug on the market to help methamphetamine users effectively overcome their addiction. But researchers at UAMS hope to change that.
There is currently no FDA approved drug on the market to help methamphetamine users effectively overcome their addiction. But researchers at the University of Arkansas for the Medical Sciences, UAMS, hope to change that.

Doctors already prescribe the drug Modafinil to treat narcolepsy and sleep apnea. Researchers have high hopes for this new use.

"The meth overtakes you and it begins to control you and it begins to be your life," Stacha Herring says.

Herring says meth almost destroyed her life when her husband became an addict and abused her and her daughter. "He started out snorting, and then he went to smoking, and when he went to shooting.  There was a time when I literally thought he was going to kill me," Herring said.

Herring started using too but she says her love for her little girl helped her get out of the relationship and overcome her own addiction. Still, she says some people need an extra push and if Modafinil works, she thinks it could help a lot of people.

"It's devastating. They can lose everything. Perhaps the most important thing is who they are as a human being." Dr. Mancino with UAMS said.  

Dr. Mancino has worked with meth addicts for years. Now he's trying to find 50 methamphetamine addicts to test out Modafinil in this new 10 week study.  Dr. Mancino says Modafinil has the same stimulant-like effects of meth but it's not nearly as addictive. He says half the patients will get drug Modafinil. The other half will get a placebo. Then after a couple of weeks they'll see how much the drug has worked to help the desire for methamphetamine subside. Dr. Mancino hopes the drug can delay relapses of meth use long enough to get addicts into counseling programs so they can change their behavior.

Stacha Herring says ultimately it's up to addicts whether or not they quit. "You have to dig deep within yourself and find that willpower to want to get off the drugs," she said.

Dr. Mancino says people selected to be a part of this study would be in a residential treatment center for 2 weeks. Then for the next 8 weeks they'd have to come back to UAMS three times a week for testing. And they would be paid.

People who want to participate can call 526-7969 and they should know the study is totally confidential.
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