A new study led by researchers at the National Centre for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs (NCCRED) at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) and in cooperation with St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, has found lisdexamfetamine is safe and feasible for treating acute methamphetamine withdrawal. 

Lisdexamphetamine, sold under the brand name Vyvanse, is a medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and binge eating disorder.

This is the first clinical trial of the drug for the treatment of methamphetamine withdrawal.

Lead author, Liam Acheson said Australasia has the highest rate of amphetamine dependence worldwide and the demand for treatment is increasing.

‘There are currently no approved treatments for the management of methamphetamine withdrawal,’ Mr Acheson said. 

‘Our study found that lisdexamfetamine is a safe and feasible option in an inpatient environment and was highly acceptable to participants.

‘This is an encouraging result, but more work is required to determine the efficacy of this treatment.

‘Our sample was quite small at 10 participants but the results warrant further, larger, randomised controlled trials in inpatient and outpatient settings.’

Methamphetamine is the second most common drug of concern in Australian treatment settings and managing withdrawal symptoms is a significant challenge.

‘Ineffective treatment of withdrawal results in high rates of relapse, so reducing the severity of symptoms is key to delivering better outcomes,’ Mr Acheson said.

‘If found to be effective, lisdexamphetamine has the potential to be the first pharmacotherapy for methamphetamine withdrawal.’

Lisdexamfetamine for the treatment of acute methamphetamine withdrawal: A pilot feasibility and safety trial is available via Drug and Alcohol Dependence.