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Keywords:

  • Abuse liability;
  • counselling;
  • methamphetamine dependence;
  • modafinil;
  • randomised controlled trial;
  • safety;
  • treatment

ABSTRACT

Aim  To examine the safety and efficacy of modafinil (200 mg/day) compared to placebo in the treatment of methamphetamine dependence and to examine predictors of post-treatment outcome.

Participants and design  Eighty methamphetamine-dependent subjects in Sydney, Australia were allocated randomly to modafinil (200 mg/day) (n = 38) or placebo (n = 42) under double-blind conditions for 10 weeks with a further 12 weeks post- treatment follow-up.

Measures  Comprehensive drug use data (urine specimens and self-report) and other health and psychosocial data were collected weekly during treatment and research interviews at baseline, week 10 and week 22.

Results  Treatment retention and medication adherence were equivalent between groups. There were no differences in methamphetamine abstinence, craving or severity of dependence. Medication-compliant subjects tended to provide more methamphetamine-negative urine samples over the 10-week treatment period (P = 0.07). Outcomes were better for methamphetamine-dependent subjects with no other substance dependence and those who accessed counselling. There were statistically significant reductions in systolic blood pressure (P = 0.03) and weight gain (P = 0.05) in modafinil-compliant subjects compared to placebo. There were no medication-related serious adverse events. Adverse events were generally mild and consistent with known pharmacological effects.

Conclusions  Modafinil demonstrated promise in reducing methamphetamine use in selected methamphetamine-dependent patients. The study findings support definitive trials of modafinil in larger multi-site trials.