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Does Two-Drug Treatment Work for Meth Addiction?

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Does Two-Drug Treatment Work for Meth Addiction

Table of Contents

Two-drug treatment strategies, which combine different therapeutic agents (naltrexone and bupropion) to address various symptoms of addiction, are being studied for effectiveness. Current research and clinical trials are evaluating the potential benefits of these approaches.

Key Takeaways

  • Overview of Two-Drug Treatment for Meth Addiction: Two-drug treatment involves the use of naltrexone and bupropion to help individuals overcome methamphetamine addiction. Recent clinical trials show promise in treating methamphetamine use disorder.
  • Effectiveness in Treating Methamphetamine Use Disorder: This treatment method has shown success in reducing meth use and improving patient outcomes, offering an effective solution for those struggling with stimulant use disorder.
  • Findings from Recent Clinical Trials: Key studies funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse have demonstrated the effectiveness of this two-drug approach, with significant improvements compared to placebo groups.
  • Importance of Comprehensive Addiction Treatment: Combining pharmacological treatments with behavioral therapy and support systems is crucial for long-term recovery from meth addiction.


Methamphetamine addiction is a significant public health issue characterized by compulsive meth use and severe health consequences. Traditional treatments often struggle to address the complexity of methamphetamine use disorder, leading researchers to explore new methods. This article investigates the effectiveness of a two-drug treatment approach, examining its benefits, clinical trial findings, and the importance of comprehensive addiction treatment.

Understanding Methamphetamine Addiction

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It is often abused for its euphoric effects and increased energy levels. However, meth use leads to severe health issues, including addiction, cognitive decline, and physical deterioration.

Symptoms and Effects of Meth Use

Methamphetamine use has devastating effects on both the brain and body. Short-term symptoms include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and hyperactivity. Long-term use can lead to severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), skin sores, and significant brain damage. Individuals with meth addiction often exhibit intense drug cravings, erratic behavior, and withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and severe anxiety.

Traditional Treatments for Meth Addiction

Behavioral Therapy and Contingency Management

Traditional treatments for meth addiction primarily involve behavioral therapy and contingency management. These methods focus on changing drug-related behaviors and providing incentives for drug-free urine tests. While effective for some, these treatments often fall short of addressing the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with methamphetamine use disorder.

Challenges and Limitations

Despite the benefits of traditional therapies, they face significant challenges, including high relapse rates and limited accessibility. Many individuals struggling with methamphetamine addiction require more comprehensive approaches that address both the psychological and physiological aspects of addiction.

Two-Drug Treatment Approach

Overview of the Two-Drug Treatment Method

The two-drug treatment approach combines naltrexone and bupropion to target methamphetamine addiction. Naltrexone, commonly used for opioid addiction, blocks the euphoric effects of methamphetamine, while bupropion helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Medications Used (e.g., Naltrexone and Bupropion)

  • Naltrexone: This medication works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain, which also affects the rewarding effects of methamphetamine. It is typically used to treat opioid addiction but has shown promise in stimulant use disorder.
  • Bupropion: Known for treating depression and aiding smoking cessation, bupropion affects neurotransmitters in the brain that influence mood and cravings. When combined with naltrexone, it enhances the overall effectiveness of the treatment.

Mechanism of Action

The combination of naltrexone and bupropion works synergistically to reduce meth use. Naltrexone blocks the reward pathways in the brain, preventing the euphoric effects of methamphetamine, while bupropion alleviates withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings. This dual approach addresses both the physical and psychological components of methamphetamine addiction.

Clinical Trials and Research Findings

Key Studies and Their Outcomes

Recent clinical trials have shown promising results for the two-drug treatment method. Studies funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse demonstrated significant reductions in meth use among participants receiving the combination of naltrexone and bupropion compared to those in the placebo group.

Role of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has played a crucial role in researching and funding studies on the effectiveness of two-drug treatment for methamphetamine use disorder. Their support has led to groundbreaking findings supporting this treatment’s use in clinical settings.

Comparison with Placebo Groups

In clinical trials, participants receiving the two-drug treatment showed higher success rates in reducing meth use and improving overall health compared to those in the placebo group. These findings highlight the potential of this treatment to offer a viable solution for individuals struggling with meth addiction.

Effectiveness and Benefits

Success Rates and Patient Outcomes

The two-drug treatment approach has demonstrated high success rates in clinical settings. Patients receiving this treatment report significant reductions in meth use, fewer cravings, and improved quality of life. The combination of naltrexone and bupropion offers an effective solution for those with stimulant use disorder.

Reduction in Meth Use and Overdose Deaths

Studies have shown that patients treated with naltrexone and bupropion experience fewer overdose deaths and a marked decrease in methamphetamine use. This treatment method provides a safer alternative to traditional approaches, with better long-term outcomes.

Benefits Of Traditional Treatments

Compared to traditional behavioral therapy and contingency management, the two-drug treatment method offers more comprehensive relief from the symptoms of meth addiction. By addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction, this approach leads to more sustainable recovery and lower relapse rates.

Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

Importance of Combining Medications with Behavioral Therapy

While the two-drug treatment method is effective, combining it with behavioral therapy enhances the overall success of addiction treatment. Behavioral therapies help patients develop coping strategies, improve mental health, and address underlying issues contributing to their addiction.

Role of Support Systems and Rehabilitation Programs

Support systems and rehabilitation programs are crucial for long-term recovery. These programs provide a structured environment where individuals can receive continuous support, counseling, and medical care, ensuring they remain on the path to recovery.

Long-term Recovery Strategies

Long-term recovery from meth addiction involves a combination of pharmacological treatment, behavioral therapy, and support from family and friends. Ongoing research and treatment advancements continue to improve the strategies available to help individuals achieve and maintain sobriety.


The two-drug treatment approach, involving naltrexone and bupropion, shows significant promise in treating methamphetamine addiction. Clinical trials funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse have demonstrated its effectiveness, highlighting the importance of combining pharmacological treatments with behavioral therapy for comprehensive addiction care.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact Virtue Recovery Las Vegas at 866-520-2861 for help. Early intervention and professional assistance can make a significant difference in overcoming addiction and achieving long-term recovery.


What is the two-drug treatment for meth addiction?

The two-drug treatment for meth addiction involves using naltrexone and bupropion to reduce cravings and block the euphoric effects of methamphetamine.

How effective is this treatment method?

Recent clinical trials have shown that the two-drug treatment is highly effective in reducing meth use and improving patient outcomes compared to traditional treatments.

What are the side effects of the medications used?

Naltrexone and bupropion can cause side effects such as nausea, headache, and insomnia. It is important to use these medications under medical supervision.

Does insurance cover meth addiction?

Insurance coverage for meth addiction treatment varies depending on the policy and provider. Most health insurance plans, especially those compliant with the Affordable Care Act, cover substance abuse treatment, but the extent of coverage can differ.

Are medications used in meth addiction?

Yes, while there are no FDA-approved medications specifically for methamphetamine addiction, other medications are sometimes used off-label to help alleviate symptoms and manage cravings. Behavioral therapies are the primary treatment for meth addiction.

Why does meth use cause weight loss?

Meth use often leads to weight loss because it suppresses appetite and increases metabolism. Additionally, methamphetamine can lead to an increased level of physical activity and reduced overall caloric intake.

How long does it take to get addicted to meth?

The time it takes to become addicted to meth can vary widely among individuals, but methamphetamine is highly addictive and can lead to dependency very quickly. Some people might experience signs of addiction after just a few uses.

How can I help someone who is addicted to meth?

Supporting someone with meth addiction involves encouraging treatment and recovery, providing emotional support, and helping them access professional services. It’s important to maintain clear boundaries and seek support for yourself, too.

How can I access two-drug treatment for meth addiction?

You can access two-drug treatment for meth addiction by contacting addiction treatment centers like Virtue Recovery Las Vegas at 866-520-2861.

Where can I find help for meth addiction?

Virtue Recovery Las Vegas offers comprehensive treatment programs for meth addiction. Contact them at 866-520-2861 for support and assistance in your recovery journey.





author avatar
Nicki Lugo, CPC, LAC, LCADC, CCTS Executive Director
Nicki Lugo is currently employed as Clinical Director at Virtue Recovery Center in Las Vegas. Nicki is a licensed clinical professional counselor (CPC) in the state of Nevada and a licensed associate counselor (LAC) in the state of Arizona. She is also a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor (LCADC) in Nevada. Additionally, Nicki has specialized training in treating trauma and is a certified clinical trauma specialist (CCTS). Nicki has earned a Master of Science degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavioral Health from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Science in Professional Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Currently, Nicki is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling Education and Supervision at Grand Canyon University. Nicki’s research interests include the use of Positive Psychology interventions with dual diagnosis clients. Nicki hopes to contribute to the body of knowledge in treating substance use disorders. Nicki’s long-term career goals include advancing in leadership roles within Virtue Recovery Center which is a quickly growing substance use disorder treatment facility. She hopes that one day her research and advocacy will help to save the lives of those who have been affected by substance use. She likes to say that advocacy is her passion and leadership is her superpower.

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