Bupropion for Methamphetamine Addiction

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Recent clinical evidence suggests that Bupropion is an effective treatment for individuals living with an addiction to methamphetamine. Previously, it has been prescribed to people with clinical depression or those trying to overcome an addiction to cigarettes. However, it now appears to be a promising and cutting-edge candidate for those battling an addiction to methamphetamine. Sobriety Home is happy to offer its residents this innovative pharmaceutical intervention as an adjunctive treatment to its state-of-the-art behavioural and evidence-based psychotherapy. Adding Bupropion to your treatment plan is only one conversation away.

What is Bupropion?

More commonly known as Wellbutrin or Zyban, Bupropion is an antidepressant with little to no addictive properties. At one time, it was the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States. However, further clinical evidence revealed that its antidepressant effects were weak. Although, the effects were generally better than receiving no treatment at all. Within the realm of addiction, Bupropion has been effective in smoking cessation. Now, emerging clinical data reveals that it may be an effective treatment for those with methamphetamine addiction.

How does Bupropion work to treat Methamphetamine Addiction?

Two decades of clinical data supports Bupropion as a treatment for methamphetamine addiction. The evidence suggests that a pre-treatment of Bupropion before self-administration of methamphetamine reduces the amount of the drug taken in monkeys, rats, and humans. This appears to be heavily mediated by the extent of one’s addiction. For example, Bupropion appears to be most effective in individuals who typically take low to moderate doses of methamphetamine. However, it has been effective for those who typically self-administer large doses on a regular basis.

Clinical experts have not reached a consensus as to how Bupropion interacts with methamphetamine in the body. However, they do understand certain properties about each drug that may reveal the nature of their interaction. Bupropion is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). This means that it blocks the “recycling” (aka: reuptake) of norepinephrine (aka: noradrenaline) and dopamine in the brain. Consequently, this increases the amount of both neurotransmitters within the brain and the probability that they will interaction with neurons to carry out specific effects. Dopamine is a “feel good” neurotransmitter and when it binds to dopaminergic neurons, it produces a “high” effect. Indeed, it is also the primary neurotransmitter involved in reward-seeking behaviour and motivation. We act out dopamine-seeking behaviour when our internal levels are depleted or low. For example, we may seek out more of a certain drug, social media, sex, food, and so forth.

Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant. It triggers the release of the same neurotransmitters as Bupropion (e.g., dopamine, norepinephrine) and serotonin. Further, it simultaneously blocks the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine. These effects are like that of Bupropion. Therefore, Bupropion can be given in lieu of methamphetamine. Bupropion will maintain levels of dopamine in the brain. In turn, this subdues the desire or drive to seek out other dopamine-releasing drugs. Symptoms of withdrawal associated with methamphetamine are calmed. Indeed, Bupropion is safer and has less side-effects than methamphetamine. This makes it a viable candidate for treatment.

How do I know if Bupropion is right for me?

Every individual will react to Bupropion differently. Therefore, they require a treatment plan catered to them. At Sobriety Home, our physicians are highly informed and provide a practice heavily informed by clinical evidence and expertise. The evidence suggests a promising role for Bupropion in methamphetamine addiction. Therefore, we encourage our current and any prospective residents to speak with a clinician about Bupropion.