Study examines effects of Ibudilast and metamphetamines

John W. Tsuang, M.D., principal investigator at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed), in conjunction with Steven J. Shoptaw, Ph.D., from the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, is spearheading a Phase I clinical safety trial that for the first time examines the effects of Ibudilast when administered with metamphetamine (MA), an addictive stimulant that is closely related to amphetamine. Ibudilast is a non-selective phosphodiesterase inhibitor known as a modulator of glial activation in the central nervous system; the role of these glial cells is to regulate the repair of neurons after an injury, such as the neurocognitive deficits caused by long-term MA addiction. The study is being funded by the National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

More commonly known as "speed," "meth" or "ice," MA is long lasting and toxic to dopamine in the central (NIDA). According to the Substance Abuse and Administration (SAMHSA), a 2009 survey revealed that 1.2 million Americans ages 12 and older had abused MA at least once prior to the year they were surveyed. According to the SAMHSA, MA dependence causes devastating personal and public health consequences, particularly in the Western and Midwestern United States.

"Currently, there are no approved medications to help treat MA dependence," said Dr. Tsuang. "Through this study, we are working to determine the effects of Ibudilast - combined with relevant doses of MA - on heart rate and blood pressure, and whether or not Ibudilast alters the way in which the body absorbs, distributes, and metabolizes MA. The development of one or more medications to reduce MA abuse, when implemented with evidence-based behavioral and counseling interventions, would have obvious public health significance."

Dr. Tsuang and his colleagues are utilizing a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled within-subject crossover design to determine the safety and tolerability and subjective and reinforcing effects of MA in 12 participants who are not seeking treatment for MA dependence. The participants will be treated with oral Ibudilast (20mg BID and 50mg BID) and placebo.

Recent research suggests that may be important in modulating the rewarding properties of drugs that are abused, including MA. Research also suggests that MA-induced glial activation may help reduce the damage done to the central nervous system and associated cognitive dysfunction via glial cell secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that interact with cells of the immune system in order to regulate the body's response to disease and infection.

Dr. Tsuang is hoping that following the initial safety trial, physicians will be able to utilize Ibudilast in treating patients with MA dependence to help them improve memory and reduce the damage done to their central nervous system due to MA abuse.

Provided by Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed)

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Typhoon Ma-on's eye seen in NASA satellite Images

Jul 15, 2011

The eye of a tropical cyclone is an indication of a strong storm, and Typhoon Ma-on's eye was apparent in visible and infrared imagery captured by NASA's Aqua satellite. Ma-on just achieved Category Four status ...

Recommended for you

More teens abstaining from alcohol

Apr 10, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—A broad change in drinking behaviour has occurred among Australian adolescents in the last decade. The percentage of Australians aged 14-17 who do not drink alcohol has increased from ...

Chronic smoking can diminish postural stability

Apr 08, 2014

Chronic cigarette smoking has a high co-occurrence with alcohol use disorders, and roughly 60 to 90 percent of alcohol dependent (AD) individuals seeking treatment are chronic smokers. Postural instability is also common ...

User comments