Topiramate for the treatment of methamphetamine addiction: a multi-center placebo-controlled trial


Bankole A. Johnson, Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia, PO Box 800623, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0623, USA. E-mail:


Aims  Topiramate has shown efficacy at facilitating abstinence from alcohol and cocaine abuse. This double-blind, placebo-controlled out-patient trial tested topiramate for treating methamphetamine addiction.

Design  Participants (n = 140) were randomized to receive topiramate or placebo (13 weeks) in escalating doses from 50 mg/day to the target maintenance of 200 mg/day in weeks 6–12 (tapered in week 13). Medication was combined with weekly brief behavioral compliance enhancement treatment.

Setting  The trial was conducted at eight medical centers in the United States.

Participants  One hundred and forty methamphetamine-dependent adults took part in the trial.

Measurements  The primary outcome was abstinence from methamphetamine during weeks 6–12. Secondary outcomes included use reduction versus baseline, as well as psychosocial variables.

Findings  In the intent-to-treat analysis, topiramate did not increase abstinence from methamphetamine during weeks 6–12. For secondary outcomes, topiramate reduced weekly median urine methamphetamine levels and observer-rated severity of dependence scores significantly. Subjects with negative urine before randomization (n = 26) had significantly greater abstinence on topiramate versus placebo during study weeks 6–12. Topiramate was safe and well tolerated.

Conclusions  Topiramate does not appear to promote abstinence in methamphetamine users but can reduce the amount taken and reduce relapse rates in those who are already abstinent.